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Full text of "Green oak: selected Lithuanian poetry"

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THE GREEN OAK 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/greenoakselectedOOIand 



THE GREEN OAK 



Selected Lithuanian Poetry 



Edited by 

ALGIRDAS LANDSBERGIS 

and CLARK MILLS 




VOYAGES PRESS 

UHlVERSiTY GF 



THE GREEN OAK 

Copyright, 1962, by 
Voyages Press 



FIRST EDITION, 1962 
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 61-18249 



VOYACES PRESS 

35 West 75th Street 

New York 23, N. Y. 

PRINTED IN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY 

Theo. Gaus' Sons, Inc., BrookI)'n i, N. Y. 



CONTENTS 

Introduction 9 

I. DAINOS 

The moon wedded the sun 25 

I lost my httle lamb 25 

Little he-goat, black-bearded 26 

Little tall rye 26 

The oak, the linden 27 

thou oak tree 28 
So the father raised 28 

1 had a little brother 29 
High on the hill 30 
Fly, hawk, over the lake 31 
We shall drink beer today 31 
There is a high mountain 32 
Hey, nowhere, nowhere 33 
Through the night, the long night 33 
O little sun, God's daughter 34 
I've told my mother, I refused 34 
Beyond my father's gates 35 
Whence did it rise 36 
Rise, mother sun, rise 37 
There had come, there had come 37 
Comely, the cuckoo sang 38 
Sing, my dear sister 39 
Look through the window. Sweet 39 
Roar, roar, my millstones! 40 
It's the rooster's fault 40 
The son of Kosciuszko lies 40 
The matchmaker comes 41 

mother, my heart and my life 41 

1 was a pilgrim 42 
Nobles of Lithuania 43 
Hoi, you young birdlings 44 
My dear heart, my mother 45 



CONTENTS (continued) 

Where are you going, my young fellow? 46 

Through the fields lowing 46 

Husband dear, lying there 47 

She who wishes to be free 47 

As I went into the lily-garden 47 

The housewife drank a little sip 48 

They hired me to mourn for you 48 

Lament for a Son (Rauda) 49 

II. POEMS 

Kris ti Jonas Donelaitis: The Seasons (excerpts) 53 

Kristijonas Gotlibas Milke: (from) The Casth Hill 58 
Dionyzas Po^ka: The Peasant of Samogitia and Lithuania 59 

Antanas Strazdas: Dawn 60 

Simonas Stanevicius: The Hoise and the Bear 61 

Antanas Baranauskas: The Pine Grove of AnyH6iai 62 

Antanas Vienazindys: Sweet, How Sweet 65 

Petras Arminas: Horses 66 

Adomas JakStas : The Diplomat 66 

Maironis : 

From Bfrute Mountain 67 

The Lake of the Four Cantons: Evening 67 

Song of Antiquity 69 

Motiejus Gustaitis: A Vow 69 

Jurgis BaltruSaitis: The Rustling of Hair-grass 70 

Pranas Vai^aitis: Song of the Roisterer 71 

Mykolas Vaitkus: The Morning Hour 72 

Lindas Gira: Asters 72 

Kleopas Jurgelionis: Sea and Wenches 73 

Petras Vai^iunas: Hay Mowing 74 

Faustas Kir^a: The Wooden Christ 75 

Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas : 

At Midnight 76 

The Sorrow-laden 76 



CONTENTS (continued) 



Kazys Binkis: 




The Water-JiJy 


77 


Cloud-calves 


77 


Balys Sruoga: (from) Kazimieras Sapiega 


78 


Juozas Tysliava: 




The Wagon 


79 


Spring 


79 


Stasys Santvaras : Mayhug 


80 


Jonas Aistis: 




Saint Sebastian 


80 


Phedm 


81 


Oi Autumn and a Dog 


82 


Salome j a Neris: 




Dandehon 


82 


Lilacs 


83 


Antanas Rimydis: Famine 


83 


Antanas Miskinis: Like Snow, Like Music 


84 


Antanas Vaiciulaitis : Snmmer 


85 


Bernardas Brazdzionis: 




Image of the Future 


85 


Journey into Night ■• 


86 


Commedia deJJ'Arte 


87 


Antanas Gustaitis: The Pig 


87 


Grazina Tulauskaite: Unknown Bird 


88 


Antanas Jasmantas: Annunciation 


89 


Henrikas Radauskas: 




The Winter's Tale 


90 


Arrow in the Sky 


90 


Apollo 


90 


The Sun, the Moon and the Star 


91 


Antanas Skema: First Request 


91 


Leonardas Zitkus: Love Unspoken 


92 


Juozas Kekstas : Maioli Blooms with Poppies 


92 


Alfonsas Nyka-Niliunas : 




A T Ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleur 


93 


Inferno 


94 



CONTENTS (continued) 



Kazys Bradunas: 




The Woodspiite^s Lament 


97 


That You Not Be Alone 


97 


Crystal 


98 


Vytautas Ma^emis: The Second Vision 


98 


Vladas Slaitas: Memoiial 


98 


HenrikasNagys: 




Lateina Obscma 


100 


Pastoral 


101 


Eugenijus Gruodis: The Word 


102 


Birute Pukelevi^iute: Slender, My Mother 


102 


Jonas Mekas: Old Is the Hush oi Kain 


103 


Vytautas Karalius: Bread and Rice 


104 


Algimantas Mackus: The Drowned Girl 


105 



III. IN OTHER LANGUAGES 

Vaclovas Labunauskas-Daujotas: Epigram 109 

Adam Mickiewicz: (from) Pan Tadeusz 

Invocation 109 

Day Breaks on Lithuania 110 

The Forest 111 

Jurgis BaltruSaitis: 

Morning Song 112 

To the Crucified Homeland 112 

Testament of Grief 113 

O. V. de L.-Milosz: 

(from) Insomnia 113 

The Carriage, Halted at Night 114 

Selected Bibliography 117 



INTRODUCTION 

Lithuanian poems and folk-songs are simple, direct, and in- 
timately bound to the land and the forces of nature. To the 
''sophisticated" western reader, versed in the elaborate manners 
and trends of the mid-twentieth centur}^ they should bring an 
unexpected freshness and delight. One American collaborator in 
the preparation of The Green Oalc has described the "shock of 
pleasure" that some of them awoke in him, as if he ''had come 
upon a cave lined with beautiful prehistoric paintings." And 
Robert Payne, who translated several of the folk-songs for this 
volume, has written similarly of their impact: 

"The dainos of Lithuania have a beauty and pure primitive 
splendor above anything I know in western literature. They seem 
to have been written at the morning of the world, and the dew 
is still on them. 

"The people who wrote and sang them are among the most 
enviable who ever lived. They had a deep instinctive feeling for 
the simplest of all things— for woods and running water and 
girls' faces and the colors of the sky. They sang artlessly, as 
though singing were as easy as breathing; but how much art there 
is in their artlessness! 

"This is where song begins." 

The Green Oak is a selection of 113 Lithuanian poems in 
English translation by 23 American and British poets. Except for 
about a dozen, which have appeared in reviews and elsewhere, 
these versions are new and have been prepared especially for this 
volume. In Part I (Dainos), the earliest of the folk-songs date from 
some thousands of years ago; the last signed work in Part II 
(Poems) is by Algimantas Mackus, who was born in 1932. Part 
III (In other languages) provides as an annex a few examples of 
work by Lithuanian poets, or poets of Lithuanian extraction, who 
wrote principally or exclusively in Latin, Polish, Russian and 
French. 

i i i 

9 



The proliferation of the dafna, or folk-song, through millen- 
nia of the development of the Lithuanian people, is unique in 
the history of cultures. The circumstances of its origins are un- 
known, but the mythological songs, which concern the sun and 
moon, the stars and other "natural mysteries," reflect early Lith- 
uanian beliefs of which we now have but scant knowledge. Closely 
related to these beliefs are the dainos in which the oak tree plays 
a central role as a symbolic, or substitute father, and represents 
the masculine concept in general. Songs of work as well as some 
of the dance and game songs are also among the oldest in the 
culture. Originally pure lyrical songs, a number of dainos, which 
date from within the past two centuries, could also be described 
as examples of the popular ballad. In his Lithuanian Narrative 
Folksongs, Dr. Jonas Balys has made a detailed compilation and 
analytical survey of this special form.* 

The daina has survived because song is to Lithuanians an 
organic part of work and the business of life. Lithuanians have 
sung dainos not only on holidays, at weddings and other festive 
occasions, but as they labored in the fields, in the moments before 
and after meals, and as a natural accompaniment— not addressed 
primarily to an audience— of every activity of the day. Dr. Antanas 
Maceina has described this trait of Lithuanian life: '\ . . There is 
hardly a phase of it which is not permeated by songs: birth and 
death, wedding and name-day, the harvests of hay and rye are 
reflected in songs. The warm summer nights when the young 
men lead the horses to pasture, the long peaceful winter evenings 
when women spin and men braid hemp into rope— all begin 
with song, are accompanied by songs, and end with songs ."t 

Western readers should know that the dainos were not first 
composed as poems, to which a melodic line was later added. 
Melody and phrase appeared simultaneously as songs, "at the same 
creative moment," in the words of Dr. Maceina. Partly for this 
reason, we cannot analyze the dainos by familiar western prosodic 
standards; their rhythms are variable and often mixed, with stresses 
that shift unpredictably according to the musical figure with 
which they came into being. Although rhyme was largely omitted 
in the older dainos, later folk-songs, under German and Polish 



♦See Selected Bibliography, 
fin Utuanus, No. 1, 196L 

10 



influences, used some simple rhyme patterns (a, b, a, h; a, a, b, b, 
in long couplets; etc.). Some readers have mistakenly believed that 
the daina made frequent use of rhyme, because the diminutive 
sufEx, v^hich often appears at the line-endings, automatically pro- 
duces what v^e v^ould call in English a false rhyme, or pair of 
identical sounds. 

Between ten and twelve thousand dainos exist in published 
form, from among some 200,000 which have been recorded. This 
total of course includes scores and hundreds of variations on a 
limited number of pivotal themes; the daina, like any authentic 
folk-song, developed as a purely oral medium and was transmitted, 
in countless versions, by individual singers from generation to 
generation. 

European critics have often pointed to the moral purity of 
the dainos and suggested that their principal creators were women. 
This should not imply that they are "feminine" in any derogatory 
sense. In their treatment of love, for example, they express emo- 
tions that blend the practical and the sensual, the romantic and 
the erotic with varying emphases, through a symbolism which 
never descends to the gross or the obscene. As a whole, the dainos 
comprise a lyrical folk epos in which we find no martial spirit, 
and in which industry, loyalty and affection for people and the 
things of the earth predominate. 

Part I of this volume presents a minute sampling from the 
scope and sheer number of these folk-songs. It is to be hoped 
that a separate collection of these unique texts will follow and 
reinforce the pioneer work of Adrian Paterson and Uriah Katzenel- 
enbogen in this little explored field.* Such a volume could un- 
cover a wealth of new poetic values and open wide vistas for 
anthropological study. 



Part II (Poems) contains examples from the entire range of 
work by individual Lithuanian poets. An early period of Lithu- 
anian poetry— which dates from about the appearance of the first 
Lithuanian book in 1547 to Antanas Strazdas (1763-1833)— was 
not especially marked by power of inspiration, variety of content 
or formal perfection. While some of the poems from this time are 



*See Selected Bibliography. 

11 



still valued in Lithuania for patriotic or sentimental reasons, they 
would convey little to readers of English whose tradition is differ- 
ent from that of the Lithuanian past. Above this plain of limited 
inspiration and form, Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714-1780), in his 
fables and in his long poem The Seasons, looms like a mountain. 

Born in Lithuania Minor (a part of East Prussia near the 
present Lithuanian border), Donelaitis spent most of his life as 
pastor of a village parish. Here he remained in close contact with 
the serfs of the region, and developed a deep and sympathetic 
understanding of every facet of their lives. At the same time, he 
maintained a strong interest in poetry and music, and especially 
in the Greek and Roman classics; it was from these that he 
adapted the classical hexameter to the rhythmic peculiarities of 
Lithuanian. 

The Seasons embodies the qualities of the Lithuanian land- 
scape, provides insights into the activities of the common people, 
and describes the lives of animals, birds and even the insects of 
wood and field. In it Donelaitis's didactic strictures, as well as his 
wealth of concrete sensory data, are couched in a tone of high 
ethical seriousness, and combine to portray both the joyful beauty 
and the ephemerality of eartlily life. Donelaitis is classed among 
the first true realists of European literature; his poem is free from 
the artificial notes that appear in roughly comparable works of 
such of his contemporaries as James Thompson in England, Evald 
von Kleist in Germany or Jean-Jacques Rousseau in France. An 
essential sanity, which is common to the classics, and a consum- 
mate artistry whose effects are achieved by deceptively simple 
means— at times even by the crudities of peasant speech— are 
notable qualities in this poet, who is regarded today as the greatest 
of Lithuania. 

The name of Strazdas marks the return of poets to the quali- 
ties of the daina and their greater independence of foreign influ- 
ences. After Strazdas, one important work dates from the middle 
of the nineteenth century. The long poem of nature. The Pine 
Grove oi AnyHdiai by Antanas Baranauskas (1835-1902), adds 
intensity of feeling to fertility of poetic invention; within the 
romantic tradition, it displays, like The Seasons, sharp realistic 
pbservation. The fall of the forest in this poem is symbolic of the 
tragedies that have befallen Lithuania in its recent history. 

12 



Lyric poetry reached its full development only in the second 
half of the nineteenth century, at the time of the so-called na- 
tional awakening, and achieved a kind of perfection in the work 
of Maironis (1862-1932). Before his time the lyric had found 
expression in the everyday language of the people, and had fol- 
lowed, in its versification, a syllabic count wholly unsuited to the 
irregular rhythms of the language. Maironis brought a new tonal, 
or rhythmic structure, established norms of poetic language and 
diction, and introduced a number of formal and other innovations. 

The greatest efflorescence of Lithuanian literature coincided 
with the period of full independence of the country. At the begin- 
ning of the twentieth century, the poetry in one swift develop- 
ment underwent the transformations and absorbed and transmuted 
the influences which in the poetry of other countries had taken 
centuries to evolve. At first the generation that followed Maironis 
shaped itself under influences of Polish and Russian romanticism 
(Gustaitis, Gira, Vaitkus); in a later phase (Putinas, Kirsa, Sru- 
oga), the Russian symbolists exerted a decisive influence. Modern 
poetic trends reached Lithuania only during the period of inde- 
pendence. The poets of the Keturi Vqai (Four Winds) move- 
ment (Binkis, Rimydis) produced the first examples of futurist, 
dadaist and surrealist poetry. They were followed by other group- 
ings, which expressed trends of estheticism, neo-symbolism, ex- 
pressionism and revolutionary romanticism. 

The individual traits of the outstanding poets of the indepen- 
dence period transcend these definitions. In the poems of Jonas 
Aistis (1904- ), intimate personal themes have found the purest 
expression in Lithuanian poetry. In his work Aistis has trans- 
formed the language into an instrument of remarkable subtlety 
and refinement— qualities which are a source of despair to the 
translator. Salomeja Neris (1904-1945), like Antanas MiSkinis 
(1905- ), has achieved one of the most successful individual 
adaptations of the qualities of the daina; their poems represent 
peaks of Lithuanian lyricism. Echoes of the Old Testament and of 
medievalism exist together with satire and patriotic rhetorical 
verse in the poems of Bernardas Brazdzionis (1907- ). \'incas 
Mykolaitis-Putinas (1893- ) also displays a wide range, from the 
romanticism of his earlier work to the intellectual poems of his 
later production. And Henrikas Radauskas (1910- ) has success- 

13 



fully recast the modern western poetic idiom in a sharply defined 
classical mold. 

Upon the occupation of Lithuania by the Soviets, a large 
number of the poets went into exile, as creative intellectuals have 
done from throughout the Soviet empire. Several of the most 
important names are now to be found in the United States (Aistis, 
Brazdzionis, Kir^a, Radauskas); and the eloquent voices of a 
young generation of Lithuanian poets are also heard from North 
America. 

With minor exceptions, the youngest poets in exile have de- 
veloped under the influence of western poetic movements and the 
existentialist philosophies; much of their poetry treats of the 
meaning of human existence on earth. The Lithuanian earth re- 
mains the principal source and topic of the poems of Kazys 
Bradunas (1917- ), while for Alfonsas Nyka-Nihunas (1920- ) 
the native landscape serves as a point of departure, and often 
return, for his metaphysical journeys. In their later volumes a kind 
of serenity softens the tragic outlines of Nyka-Niliunas's existen- 
tialist solitude or the rebellious romanticism of Henrikas Nagys 
(1920- ). 

All the work of the emigre poets is banned in their native 
country, where the communists have attempted to transform them 
into what one might call Orwellian un-persons. T'hose who re- 
mained at home were obliged to submit to that treatment which 
is exemplified in the names of Mandelstam or Pasternak. The 
Soviet cultural regimen has been a blessing only to malleable 
hacks, who could never have earned literary prestige by the intrin- 
sic worth of their writing, and to authors whose style and world 
view were narrow enough to fit comfortably into the party mold. 

Since 1944 a new generation of poets has grown up in the 
occupied country. Some of these, such as Baltakis, Karalius, Mar- 
cinkevicius and Vaiciunaitc, have undeniable talent; that they 
have nevertheless failed to produce works comparable to those of 
their compatriots in exile is, of course, not necessarily due to a 
lesser ability. A door closed to non-communist literature, pressure 
on poets to construct journalistic verses for specific occasions and 
on fixed themes, lowered standards of poetic language, official hos- 
tility to individual expression— such influences have stunted and 
distorted the growth of poetry, which in Lithuania today has a 

14 



distinct stamp of epigonism, and is iiow a hybrid of some of the 
schools of the independence period and of Soviet \'erse, in which a 
paraphrase of Mayakovski is considered the utmost in avant-garde 
innovation. In these conditions, the determined effort of many 
poets to maintain their integrity— as Lithuanians, as artists, as 
men — deserves admiration. 

Many poems— and perhaps the best— are doubtless written 
for the poet's desk drawer to await better times. Tlie controlled 
press of Lithuania continually upbraids young poets for sins of 
''individualism" and for their deviation from the dogmas of "so- 
cialist realism." Nevertheless, one can distinguish even in some 
published verses a nostalgia for genuine poetry, liberated from 
lies and cant. 



Part III (In other Jangiiages) offers a few examples of work 
by poets who did not write in Lithuanian but who, in the forma- 
tive periods of their lives and in the content of their work, must 
be regarded as Lithuanian either completely or to some degree. 
These are Adam Mickiewicz, Jurgis Baltru^aitis and O. V. de 
L.-Milosz.* 

Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855) is regarded as the greatest poet 
of Poland and as a spiritual leader of that nation, despite the fact 
that he spent most of his life in Lithuania, Russia, Switzerland, 
France, Italy and Turkey. Few western readers are aware that he 
was born in Novogrodek (Naugardukas) in what is now B}'elo- 
russia (at that time in the Lithuanian area of the Common- 
wealth); or that principal elements in his work stem from his 
childhood and adolescence there and from his experience at the 
University of Vilnius. Mickiewicz has gi\en ample evidence of 
the germinal importance of his Lithuanian origins in Pan Tadeusz, 
in the Crimean Sonnets and elsewhere. He has characterized him- 
self as gente Lituanus, natione Pohnus (Lithuanian hv birth, 
Polish by nationality). 

Jurgis BaltruSaitis (1873-1944) wrote both in Lithuanian and 
Russian, in the course of a career in \^'hich he was also acti\e 



*This section also contains one poem from a large group of Latin versions 
by Lithuanian poets, written in the 15th-17th centuries, in the fashion of the 
European humanist poetry of the period. 

15 



as diplomat and leader of public affairs. His talent for languages, 
it is said, enabled him to read Sophocles, Dante, Cervantes, Ra- 
cine, Milton, Eroding and Slowacki in the originals. Baltrusaitis's 
poems in Russian placed him at the forefront of the Russian 
symbolist movement, in which he was compared to Balmont and 
Vyacheslav Ivanov. It was in this phase of his development that 
the young Boris Pasternak sought his patronage. 

The poems of Baltru^aitis were published only in limited 
editions, few copies of which are now extant, even in libraries. 
Soviet-sponsored anthologies would seem to deny his existence, 
by omission; he is a poet who, posthumously a victim of interna- 
tional political collisions, seems almost to have disappeared from 
the face of the earth. 

O. V. de L.-Milosz (1877-1939) is generally accepted as a 
French poet of Lithuanian origin. In his work he migrated not 
only to French literature but also, later, to a tortuous mysticism 
grounded in the Old and New Testaments. Milosz has described 
himself as a ''Lithuanian poet who writes in French," and his nos- 
talgic Insomnia and The Caniage, Halted at Night are among 
his least equivocal poems and his most touching cries for the 
homeland. 

Baltrusaitis and Milosz served as ministers of their country 
in Moscow and Paris respectively. Biographic incidents of this 
kind, and other accidents of migration, are common in the liter- 
atures of our times. The Irishman Samuel Beckett, like the Ro- 
manian lonesco, is now a pillar of French avant-garde drama; 
Joseph Conrad chose to abandon his native Polish to become a 
classic writer of English prose; and the Pole Wladyslaw Chodas- 
iewicz (Khodasevich) played a key role in post-symbolist Russian 
poetry. Countless instances come readily to mind. 

It is natural and understandable that large as well as small 
nations should at times claim exclusive possession of such writers, 
who command more than one language and tradition. Without 
arguing the cases of Mickiewicz, Baltrusaitis and Milosz— each 
unique in itself, and none simple— it can be said that a dominant, 
if not the principal, formative influence in their work was that of 
their Lithuanian heritage and experience. 

i i i 

16 



Here, parenthetically, a few notes on the Lithuanian language 
may be of use. 

As the Germanic tongues, including English, gradually separ- 
ated from the other Indo-European languages, some characteris- 
tics divided them sharply from most other members of the Indo- 
European family. These differences, and others, separate the 
Germanic prototypes from Lithuanian, which has preserved a far 
more ancient character and which can be said, in many cases, to 
follow the original Indo-European pattern. 

Highly inflected, Lithuanian today has five declensions and 
seven declensional cases, as well as three numbers: the singular, 
the plural and the dual. Although Lithuanian nouns, the most 
ancient words in the vocabulary, evolved considerably in the 
thousands of years since the separation of the language from 
Primeval Indo-European, they still retain closer resemblances to 
that parent tongue than do the other parts of speech. One 
"novelty" in the Lithuanian noun is that long ago it lost the 
neuter gender, which we know to have existed in Old Lithuanian. 

The language possesses a fully developed verbal system, with 
a great wealth of tenses and moods and copious participles, 
gerunds and other verbal forms. It also retains most of the Indo- 
European inflections, as well as nuances of the original pitch ac- 
cent. The more distinctive Indo-European traits of modern Lithu- 
anian are: 

1. One of the best-preserved vowel systems among the Indo- 
European languages, and definitely the best-preserved among the 
living Indo-European tongues. 

2. Preservation of most of the Indo-European consonants, ex- 
cept the palatals k\ g', and g'h. 

3. In the vocabulary, a number of words of most archaic ori- 
gin: sOnus (son), dumai (smoke), javas (grain), Dievas (god), 
etc. 

4. Some nominal case endings identical with the original 
Indo-European: -is, -us; and also -as, which differs only slightly 
from the Primitive Indo-European ending, -os. 

5. Retention of the free stress, and differentiation between 
two kinds of intonation, the acute and the circumflex, as was the 
case with Primitive Indo-European. 

The prevalence of the diminutive in Lithuanian, where it ap- 

17 



pears more frequently than in any other language, presents diffi- 
culties which are virtually insurmountable to the translator. Biolis 
(brother), for example, has more than a score of forms, each with 
its caressive, affectionate or mildly derogatory implication. A few 
forms of vaikas (child) will suggest the nuances of these diminu- 
tive suffixes, which have no exact equivalents in other tongues: 

vaf keh's: ''dear child, a small child;" 

vaikiukas: ''a little . , . dainty . . . clever ... or dexterous child, 
a little fellow;" 

vaikiuHtis: "a child, a little boy, a (slightly) naughty boy;" 

vaikezas: "a. naughty boy, unpleasant boy, 'big boy,' 'juvenile 
dehnquenf . . ."* 

The following daina, in literal translation, will give some idea 
of the almost continuous use of the diminutive, not only in the 
folk-songs but in the language itself. Diminutive nouns appear in 
italics. 



Pasakyk, merguzyte, 

Pasakyk, jaunoji: 

Kas zaliuoja ziemuzelg, 

O ir vasarel^? 



Tell me, maiden, 
Tell me, young one, 
What grows verdant in the 

winter 
And also in the summer.? 



Ne merguze bu^iau, 
Kad a§ nezino6iau, 
Kas zaliuoja ziemuzelf, 

O ir vasarelg. 



Not a maiden would I be 

If I did not know 

What grows verdant in the 

winter 
And also in the summeT. 



Girioje eglele, 

Darzely rutele, 

Tai zaliuoja ziemuzel^, 

O ir vasarel^. 



In the ioiest a spruce. 

In the flower-garden a rue, 

That grows verdant in the 

winter 
And also in the summer. 



Pasakyk, merguzyte, 
Pasakyk, jaunoji: 
Kas yra lengvesnis 
Uz z^sies plunksnel^? 



Tell me, maiden, 
Tell me, young one. 
What is lighter 
Than a goose feather.? 



Ne merguze bu^iau, 
Kad as nezino^iau. 



Not a maiden would I be 
If I did not know 



*Antanas Klimas: "The Noun," in Lituanus, No. 3, I960. 

18 



Kas yra lengvesnis What is lighter 

Uz z^sies plunksnel^: Than a goose feather: 

Bernuzio rankeles My own lad's hands 

Ant mano petehq " On my shouldeis, 

Tai yra lengvesnes These are hghter 

Uz z^sies plunksnel?. Than a goose feather. 

There is a remarkable variety and flexibility in the Lithuanian 
verbs and adjectives, v^hich are easily transformed into nouns. 
''To feed/' for example, is expressed by completely different words, 
according to whether their object happens to be an adult, a child, 
a pig, a fowl, a horse or cow, or a cat or dog. Such verbs can be 
interchanged only for ironic or sarcastic purposes. 

As in any language, of course, many words carry musical and 
emotional overtones and suggestions which are unique to Lithu- 
anian. Demie Jonaitis cites two illustrative instances: 

'' 'Baltas,' or white, the daina's most popular color, can render 
a meaning so white that it expresses pure, dazzling, gracious and 
enchanting. A white lily' is translatable enough; a 'white sun' for 
a 'dazzling sun' is less translatable; but a 'white young man' can 
hardly suggest in English as it does in Lithuanian a dashing, 
hardy youth with blue eyes and blond hair, riding a powerful 
horse, sure of conquering an unconquerable world. '2alias,' green, 
second favorite among the daina's colors, describes wide fields, 
new wine, sweet mint and rue; but 'zalias' also suggests more than 
color. Its implications embrace the ideas of flourishing, freshness, 
richness and the deep ubiquitous aliveness of the earth of whicli 
the nature-loving Lithuanian is sensitively aware."''' 



The difflculties of translation, even from a language in which 
the translator is fluent, have been elaborated, perhaps excessi\ely. 
But when most of the suggestive and musical values of the original 
represent unknown quantities, the problems might seem insoluble. 
Gur approach to this difficulty is based on the belief that in most 
cases in the past attempts by a single translator to render a rep- 
resentative selection from a foreign poet have failed to the degree 
that his own personal idiom intruded. However faithful the meter 



*In Poei Lore, Winter, 1941. 

19 



or literal sense of his version, the translator's traits and style al- 
most always color it, usually unintentionally. A partial solution, 
it seemed to us, was to apportion separate poems to several poets, 
in the hope that their differences in manner would cancel one 
another, neutralize the personal factor, and thus permit the spirit 
of the original to suggest itself. 

This approach offers another advantage in that it allows the 
translators to select poems according to their instinctive, indivi- 
dual responses. In a few instances the spark ignites to produce 
not a mere rendition, but a poem in its own right, just as the 
poet originally experienced it within himself. In our hope to invite 
such creative moments, we have avoided any exclusive "theory of 
translation;" rather, we have urged our collaborators to follow 
their own impulses. 

The results have been, in some cases, versions quite faithful 
to the sense of the originals; in others, renderings that closely 
follow their meter and structure; and in still others, texts that can 
be described only as re-creations by means available in English 
and not in Lithuanian. Louise Bogan recently described this ap- 
proach in a passage that deserves quotation. She wrote that: 
"... translators have left the hampering notion of word-for-word 
and line-for-line literalness far behind. They agree on certain 
points: that although the final 'essence' of the poem cannot be 
transferred, it can be suggested, by fidelity to the emotional tone, 
by the exact carrying over of images, and by the application of an 
attentive ear to what Pound has called 'the dance of intellect 
among words;' that unworkable meters must be eliminated; that 
the translator can (and perhaps should) be more skilled in the 
language he is putting the poem into than in the language he is 
taking it out of . . .""^^ We believe that, whatever the outcome of 
our efforts, this attitude offers more promise of success than a 
more literal-minded stratagem. 

i i i 

We make grateful acknowledgment to Athenaeum Publishers 
for permission to reprint the translation of Tht Winter's Tale by 
Henrikas Radauskas, which appeared in T\iq Womaji at iht 
Washington Zoo by Randall Jarrcll; and to Lithuanian Days and 



=-:=In The New Yorker; October 7, 1961. 

20 



Lituanus, in which some of the versions by W. K. Matthews and 
the translation by Astrid Ivask first appeared. Our special thanks, 
for their counsel and other good offices, go to Jonas Aistis, Dr. 
Jonas Balys, Kazys Bradunas, Bernardas Brazdzionis, Mariejo Fon- 
sale, Demie Jonaitis, Dr. Antanas Klimas, Vincas Maciunas, Theo- 
dore Melnechuk, Alfonsas Nyka-Niliunas, Aleksis Rannit and 
Stepas Zobarskas, as well as to Mrs. W. K. Matthews, who supplied 
manuscripts of the late Professor Matthews. We should like also 
to express our deep gratitude to Kestutis Valiunas, without whose 
generous intervention this book would not have been possible. 

A. L. 
C. M. 



21 



I 

Dainos 



The moon wedded the sun 
in the first springtime. 

The sun rose in the dawn, 
the moon abandoned her, 

wandered alone, afar, 

and loved the morning star. 

Angered, Perkunas thundered 
and cleft him with a sword: 

How could you dare to love 

the daystar, drift away 

in the night alone, and stray? 



I lost my little lamb 
Late in the evening. 
O, who will help me find 
My little lamb? 

I went to the morning star 
And the star answered me: 
—I must build a fire 
For the morning sun. 

I went to the evening star 
And the star answered me: 
—I must prepare a bed 
For the evening sun. 

Then I went to the moon 
And the moon answered me: 
I have been cut by a sword, 
And my face is melancholy. 

25 



(Clark Mills) 



Then I went to the sun 
And the sun answered me: 
—Nine days Fll search for you, 
And ril not rest on the tenth. 



(Roheit Payne) 



Little he-goat, black-bearded, 
Grow up, grow up! 
The gods are waiting for thee. 
They are waiting. 

On the cliff by the river 
A fire burns day and night. 
Shining like starlight. 
Ruginis, Zvaginis 
Will strangle God's little goatling. 

During reaping, during sowing 

We shall lead thee, little blackbeard, 

We shall lead thee to the cliff. 

Ruginis, Zvaginis 
Shall strangle thee, little goatling, 

To the glory of God. 

(Roheit Payne) 



Little tall rye, 

grain son, 

shoot that came winning through winter. 

In the wide field 
you found foothold, 
you quickened red 

and oh, sprang green 

the high hill over, ' 

you gave the field her dear dress. 

26 



Deatbbound in winter 

rye that would-be, 

you held out for the bright sun. 

Day warm, 
night cool, 
evening awake, 

you grew up stout, 

you ripened robust, 

to all you are very precious. 

Gold ear 

of grainlet suns, 

tall silver shaftling, 

on you 

droplets of dew 
shine like silver buds. 

You did not fear 

winter cold 

nor summer drought. 

You feared only 
the steel scythe, 
the grain son reapers. 



(Mary PheJpsj 



The oak, the linden, 
both green and both fair, 
stand by the road together. 
Branches incline within each other, 
leaves interweave in air. 

Boy stands, girl stands, 

both of them young and fair, 

in their clasped hands together. 

Their shoulders lean one to the other, 

rings of betrothal given. 

(Clark Mills) 
27 



thou oak tree, 
tree so green, 
why this autumn 
art not green? 

How this autumn 
should I be green? 

1 heard coming 
woodcutters twain. 

Many a branch 

the first one lopped off 

and my summit 

the second chopped off. 

From this tree's branches 
ril make a bed. 
ril bend a cradling 
from this tree's head. 

I myself will lay me 
on that same bed, 
and in the cradling 
ril swing a maid, 

half the day through 
till breakfast tide. 
Oh chuchia, lulia, 
my very own bride! 



(Adrian Pateison) 



So the father raised 
Nine sons altogether, 
And the tenth child came, 
A little daughter. 

And the oak tree spread 
All its nine branches, 

28 



And the tenth branch was 
At the very top of the tree. 

All the nine sons 
Were slaughtered in battle, 
But the tenth child was 
Saved in God's care. 

So the father rested 
His sorrowful head, 
And his heavy heart 
Was quiet with grief. 

A storm blew down 
All the nine branches, 
But the very top of the tree 
Was kept in God's care. 

And the birds flocked to it- 
Cuckoo and nightingale, 
All sang and lamented 
On the very top of the tree. 

(Rohert Payne) 



I had a little brother, 
He was dressed in finery. 
He had a brown pony 
With golden horseshoes. 

When he rode over a meadow. 
The meadow trembled. 
He cut down the clover 
And stamped down the flowers. 

When he rode over fields. 
The fields roared aloud. 
When he rode o\'er the moors. 
The moors shouted. 

29 



He trod on the prickly thorns 
From which the cattle fled. 
He met a young maiden, 
A white lily. 

He bade her good morning, 

But she did not answer. 

He doffed his cap to her, 

And she doffed her crown of flowers. 



(Robert Payne) 



High on the hill the willows twirled, 
High on the hill the willows twirled. 
Deep in the dell were waters purling; 
Lulling, the waters purled. 

There went a maiden walking, bright, 
There went a maiden walking, bright. 
Bright walked the maiden, lovely lily, 
Lovely, a lily white. 

Then came a young man riding there. 
Then came a young man riding there. 
There rode the young man, fair white clover, 
Clover so white and fair. 

''Maiden, my maiden, young and white, 
Maiden, my maiden, young and white, 
Where will you sleep, my lovely lily, 
Where will you sleep tonight?" 

'Tligh in my father's barn I'll sleep. 
High in my father's barn I'll sleep; 
Deep in my mother's bed I'll slumber, 
Motley the bed and deep." 

(Deinie Jonaitis) 

30 



Fly, hawk, over the lake. 

In that lake a maelstrom spins. 

Beside that whirlpool, garden of rue. 
In that garden a maiden weeps: 

—For me no mother to gather dowry, 
for me no father to give my share, 

for me no brother, the steeds to saddle, 
for me no sister to plait my wreath. 

Sun mother, you, sun mother, 
sun mother, gather dowry; 

moon father, you, moon father, 
moon father, give my share; 

star sister, you, star sister, 
star sister, plait my wreath; 

and you, brother Orion, 

brother Orion, go with me through the meadow. 



(Clark Mills) 



We shall drink beer today 
Tomorrow we'll set forth 
for the Magyar land. 

There, rivers are wine 
and apples, golden— 
the forests, orchards. 

And what shall we do 
in the Magyar land? 

31 



There we'll build us a city 
with precious jewels 
and window-sunlets. 

And when shall we return 
from the Magyar land? 

When pikestaffs burst with buds 
and stones explode with flowers 
and trees grow on the sea. 



(Clark MfJIs) 



There is a high mountain 
Set in the rivers and seas. 
On top of the mountain 
Rises a green oak tree. 

So in despair I swam 

And clung to the oak tree. 

—Dear oak tree, please change yourself, 

Become my father. 

And you, dear growing branches 
Become arms of flesh-like whiteness, 
And you, dear little leaves, 
Turn to loving words. 

Sorrowing I went away 
Weeping bitterly. 
For the oak tree has not changed. 
Has not become my father. 

And the dear growing branches 
Are no arms of flesh-like whiteness, 
And the little green leaves 
Have not turned to loving words. 

(Roheit Payne) 

32 



Hey, nowhere, nowhere, 
are there such gardens 
as this my father's! 
Pearl leaves 
and golden flowers 
—diamond apples! 
Oh, and flying, flying 
a speckled cuckoo came 
into Father's garden! 
And she perched there, 
all glitter in the air, 
and as she flew away 
she tinkled, tinkled. 



(Clark Mills) 



llirough the night, the long night, 
I scarcely slept a wink. 
I went to find my horses 
In the green forest. 

Morning had not dawned yet. 
The sun had not risen 
When I heard the latest news 
Of my young beloved. 

—My dear little maiden. 
Have I not warned you 
Never to dance with young lads. 
Those big stupid boys? 

She had plucked the young roses 
Whose buds were scarcely opened. 
She has flung off the veil 
She has scarcely worn. 

(Robert Pa}iie) 
33 



little sun, God's daughter, 
Where have you been dwelling? 
Wliere have you been straying? 
Why have you left us alone? 

—I have kept shepherds warm, 

1 have shielded the orphans 
Beyond the seas and mountains. 

O little sun, God's daughter, 
Wlio kindled the fires in the evening? 
Wlio kindled the fires in the evening? 
Wlio made your bed for you? 

O morning and evening star! 
The morning star my fire. 
The evening star my bed. 
Many kinsmen have blessed me. 
And many are my treasures! 



(Roheit Payne) 



I've told my mother, I refused 
oh, at least half a summer past! 

Mother, it's time— you should begin, 
find you a girl to weave and spin. 

I've spun the white flax quite enough, 
woven fine linen cloth enough, 

hay in the meadow raked my fill, 
garnered enough rye on the hill! . . . 

O wreath of rue that crowns my head, 
how long shall you stay green and glad? 

And you, green silken sunlit braids, 
how soon, too soon! your luster fades. 

34 



And my hair, O my yellow hair, 
no longer tousled in the air . . . 

ril visit Mother and not laugh, 
unwreathed— but wear my marriage coif. 

O marriage coif, my lovely own, 
you'll rustle, in the soft wind blown. 

And you, my patterns, wound so fine, 
in sun will not lose all your sheen. 

You, my green silken braids, I'll keep, 
and see you on the wall, and weep. 

. . . My rings, my golden rings, you must 
lie in my dower chest and rust. 



(Clark Mills) 



Beyond my father's gates 
There is a deep, deep lake. 

Two ducklings swim about in it. 
Quacking as they swim. 

No, they are not two ducklings. 
They are two little brothers. 

Oh listen, little brother, 
To the words of our father. 

He says he'll buy us horses 
And saffron-leather saddles 

To carry us far away 
Beyond the green forests 

35 



Where we shall often weep 
And very seldom sing. 

No lovely maidens live there. 
There are no quiet singing places. 

The lovely maidens live there. 
There are quiet singing places. 

(Robert Pnyiiej 



Whence did it rise, 
this high hill? 
From all my sighs. 

Whence flowed this clear 
water together? 
From tear on tear. 

Oh, far away, away 
my home lies- 
two hundred miles, they say. 

Beyond wide seas, 
rivers, and forests 
of dark trees. 

God, pity me, 
dear God— this lad, 
my true love is not he. 

My husband is unkind, 

his mother stem, 

his sisters of her mind. 

With sewing-frame 

and my thin needle 

I'd swim back whence I came. 

36 



Oh, all's forlorn- 
needle and frame are broken, 
my green silk torn. 

I shall go down, 
small as a minnow, 
and in the seas drown! 

Oh, yes, no more 
than minnow, Til 
leap up to the shore! 

In the wide waters 

it's hard here 

where the wave shatters. 

(Clark Mills) 



Rise, mother sun, rise! 
So small, we shepherds, 
and short, our jackets 
of fur. We are so cold, 
so cold. 

(Clark Mills) 



There had come, there had come, 
there had come here 
from the town of Gilija 
a ship of juniper. 

Then my old father 
I asked to tell 
where the ship to steer, 
where to set sail. 

Should it be for the deep 
or for the shallows? 

37 



Neither for the deep 
nor for the shallows! 

But for an open port 
where dwells a maid 
in a lofty cottage, 
her trim homestead. 

There the fair maid stays, 
daughter of the days, 
weaving and ravelling 
and embroidering 

from the very corners 
in circles of thread 
many a red 
and green flower head, 

and in the middle, 
right in the middle, 
a yellow sun 
with the stars little. 



(Adrian Pal cr son] 



: Comely, the cuckoo sang 

In the grove, combing her hair. 

Look, how fair is my hair! 

So much like the summer day. 

Fingers covered with rings. 
The manor filled with guests. 

(JJona Grazyte and Henrikas Nagys) 

Sing, my dear sister! Tell me why you do not sing. 
And why lean on your hands, that are so tired already? 

—How can I sing? And how could I be gay and joyous? 
Disaster walks my flower-garden, yes, disaster. 

38 



The rue is trampled and the roses crushed and culled, 
the lilies scattered and the dew-drops brushed away. 

—But did the north wind blow? Or the river overflow? 
Or did the thunder burst and lightning strike from heaven' 

—The north wind did not blow, nor the river overflow, 
nor thunder burst, nor lightning flash down out of heaven 

No, bearded men, men who invaded from the seas, 
climbed up the shore, despoiled the garden of my flowers. 

They trod over the rue, they crushed and culled the roses, 
scattered the lilies and the dew-drops brushed away. 

And even I scarcely endured, by miracle, 
beneath a spray of rue— beneath an ebon wreath. 

(CJark Mills) 



Look through the window, Sweet. 
What winds are there blowing? 
—The same wind as yesterday, 
llie blessed wind from the north. 

Give me a ship to sail in 
Far over the sea, 
And I shall bring home with me 
Black silk and green rue. 

Black silk for a banneret 
Embroidered with fishermen. 
And the rue, the green rue 
For weaving garlands. 

(ilobert Payne) 

39 



Roar, roar, my millstones! 

They think I do not grind alone. 

I ground alone, I sang alone, 
alone I turned the stone, 

Dear lad, why did you press me, 
me, maiden of such woes? 

Heart's lad, didn't you know 

I wasn't in the manor-house, at ease? 

Into the marsh up to my knees, 
into the water to my shoulders . . . 
My days are hard! 



(Clark Mills) 



It's the rooster's fault. 
The rooster's fault. 
He did not love the hen. 
In a week, in a week. 
She laid only one egg. 

( Uriah Katzenelenbogen ) 



The son of Kosciusko lies on the battlefield. 
For his death was deserved, being obstinate— 
Wilfulness was his undoing, nor would he listen 
To father or mother, or anyone at all 
Of his own standing. 

So let a letter be written: let it be written quickly. 

And let his father make quick reply. 

So that we may know where to bury him. 

High in the mountain under an oak tree, 

In the white sands. 

40 



There in the white sands under the oak tree 
The green oak shall become his father, 
And the white sands will become his mother, 
And the green maples will be his brothers, 
And the lindens his sisters. 



(Roheit Payne) 



The matchmaker comes— oh, my! oh, my!— 
With big wooden shoes. That will be fine! 

Big wooden shoes— oh, my! oh, my!— 
Fine for the dancing, just fine! 

The matchmaker comes— oh, my! oh, my!— 
With nose so big. That will be fine! 

A big, big nose— oh, my! oh, my!— 
Will cover us. That will be fine! 

(Ilona Grazyte and HenriJcas Nagys) 



O Mother, my heart and life, 

Tell me the meaning of my dreams. 

A jackdaw flew over the cherry orchard 

Spinning green silk 

And scattering white pearls. 

Son, my heart and life, 

1 will tell you the meaning of your dreams. 
The jackdaw is your bride. 

The green silk is her hair. 

And the white pearls are tears. 

(Roheit Payne) 

41 



I was a pilgrim, 

And I went on a pilgrimage. 

Not far away 

I came upon a maiden. 

I went beyond the forests, 
I went beyond the meadowland. 
More than two hundred miles away, 
More than three hundred. 

The maiden was in flower 
In a garden of rue, 
Among roses and rue 
And the bright carnations. 

Tu-whit, tu-whoo! 

The maiden in the rue, 

How sweet and how lovely - ■ : , . 
Is my green maiden! 

... I was a pilgrim - - . -. - - - - 
And I went on a pilgrimage. 
Not far away 
I came upon a boy. 

I went beyond the forests, 
I went beyond the meadowland. 
More than two hundred miles away. 
More than three hundred. 

The boy was in flower 
In a garden of thistles. 
Among thistles and burdock. 
In the wild nettles. 

Tu-whit, tu-whoo! 
The boy in the thorns, 
How coarse and spiky 
Is my thorny boy! 



(Robert Payne) 



42 



Nobles of Lithuania saddled up their steeds, 
saddled their steeds to ride away to war. 

The first sister polished the brothers' swords, 
the second helped them don their battle dress. 

And the third sister, she who was the youngest, 
opened the gate wide and wept for sorrow. 

— O brother, brother of mine, my own brother, 
can you still overtake the troop of riders 
and find the enemy host, and hew and slash? 

—Yes, I shall overtake and I will slash, 
but God alone knows if I shall return. 

—My sisters, let us go to the broad highway, 
it may be we shall live to see our brothers. 

On a hill we stood, and our feet dug a pit, 
we leaned, and wore an ash-tree fence away. 

. . . But did not live to welcome our own brother, 
brother of ours, the dearest and the youngest. 

His steed ran back alone, whinnying loud, 
at his side the stirrups free as pendulums. 

—You steed, O dark bay steed, tell us, tell us, 
where did you leave our own, our dearest brother? 

—If I must tell you, you will weep for sorrow, 
and if I do not, all the grief is mine. 

Your brother rests in Riga town today, 
he rests in Riga town, in a strange land. 

I plunged into nine rivers, swam across, 
into a tenth I plunged, and plunged across. 

43 



Nine bullets, nine! hissed and slapped past, 
and the tenth bullet found your youngest brother. 

Where his head lay still on the still earth, 
a bush of roses flowered, beautiful. 

And as the droplets of his fierce blood flowed, 
beautiful, the red jewels gleamed and glistened. 



(Clark MilJs) 



Hoi, you young birdlings, 
I wish to be married. 
The gray-coated thrush 
Will saddle my horses, 
The beaver with marten's cap 
Will be the driver, 
The slender-legged hare 
Will be the poursuivant, 
The crystal-clear nightingale 
Will sing the hymnals, 
And the leaping magpie 
Will whirl in the dances. 

The wolf with his big trumpet 
Will play on the pipes, 
The bear with huge paws 
Will chop up the wood, 
The crook-back crow 
Will carry the water, 
The white-aproned swallow 
Will wash all the dishes. 
The bushy-tailed squirrel 
Will set the table. 
And the silk-clothed vixen 
Will sit by my bride. 

(Robert Payne) 
44 



My dear heart, my mother, 
so httle now, so old, 
why did you let me be? 

Was it for toils, afflictions 
and the slanders 
of every passer-by? 

—No, not for afflictions 

nor for your toil 

nor for the town slanders. 

—My dear heart, my mother, 
so in your disregard, 
why did you let me be? 

You could have taken me 
and thrown me deep, 
deep into the lake, 

I could have drowned, 
become playmate 
of all the fishes 

that fishermen, amazed, 
would lift up in their silken 
nets,—! Myself— strange catch. 

Yes! They could have taken 
with all their fishes me 
in their webs of silk. 

Oh, they could have fished 

and easily taken me 

in their wide silken nets! 

Not speckled pike, I could have been 
betrothed to a fisherman 
and daughter-in-law to fishers. 

(Claik Mills) 
45 



Where are you going, my young fellow? 
—To Paris hundreds of miles away, my dear maiden. 
What will you wear there, my young fellow? 
—A uniform of green silk, my dear maiden. 
Where will you stay there, my young fellow? 
—By the great River Marne, my dear maiden. 
Where will the trumpets blow, my young fellow? 
—On the high hill, Montmartre, my dear maiden. 
Where will you rest there, my young fellow? 
—In the thick of battle, my dear maiden. 
Who will sing your praises, my young fellow? 
—Muskets and trumpets, my dear maiden. 
Who will carry you, my young fellow? 
—Courtiers, young generals, my dear maiden. 
AVhere will they bury you, my young fellow? 
—Under the church tower, my dear maiden. 
Shall we toll the bells, my young fellow? 
—Both bells, both together, my dear maiden. 
Shall we light the candles, my young fellow? 
—A hundred candles together, my dear maiden. 

(Uriah Katzeiielenbogen) 



Through the fields lowing, the oxen are coming home 
and we walk with them, sisters joyfully singing. 

Hola, come out, our brother ploughman, come! 
Hola, open the wide green copper gate! 

Hola, open the wide green copper gate! 
Your ash-colored oxen are here to be let in. 

Hola, let in your ash-colored oxen, please, 

and let her sleep, your maiden who tends the oxen. 



(Clark Mills) 
46 



Husband dear, lying there soft as silk like a wolf. 
I am abandoned like a broken wheel, 
I am left alone like a crumbling wall- 
Ride on, ride on, bury him deep, let him not return, 
Let him not come back to me, let him not slip out 

and ask for parsley. 
If the stork comes flying, what will he say? 
The cuckoo will come, but he will not mend the fencehole. 

(Roheit Payne) 



She who wishes to be free 
And live in great delight, 
Let her marry a forester. 

Let her marry a forester. 
A wanderer in the woods, 
A rover through the nights. 

By day in the woods. 
By night in the inn drinking— 
And no work for her. 



(Uimh Katzendenhogen) 



As I went into the lily-garden 
Five or six fellows stared at me. 

As I was leaving the lily-garden, 
Five or six raised their hats to me. 

As I was dancing with a strange fellow, 
They tore my apron with their spurs. 

None of them asked whose belo\'ed I was, 
But they shoved me into the corner. 

And when I danced with my own beloved 
They bore me in their arms. 

(Uriah Katzenelenbogeii) 
47 



The housewife drank a httle sip, 

out of the httle glass a sip 

she swallowed, drank and swallowed, yes, she drank! 

She drank because she wanted to, 

only because she wanted to, 

wanted to drink, was glad, yes, glad to drink. 

It tasted fine, for none was left, 

she smacked her lips and none was left, 

nothing was left, nothing, really nothing at all. 

That's why she tilted up the glass, 

tilted the little glass up high, 

tilted it high and rolled it, tilted it up high. 

(CJark Mills) 



They hired me to mourn for you, 
And weep in lamentation. 
They promised me a sieve of beans. 
And a bountiful supply of lard. 

I wonder: will they pay me or not? 
Should I mourn or not? 
Should I lament or not? 



Help me out, sister, 
Where have you hidden 



your wool? 



Little sister, I have found 
A song of lamentation. 
Deep in my heart I found it. 
Just yesterday you baked white loaves 
—Now you are lying on a plank. 

(Uiiah KatzeneJenhogen) 
48 



LAMENT FOR A SON (Rauda) 

Oh, my dear child, my son, oh, what has frightened you? 
Was it the hard years, or my hard labors, or my hard life? You 
would not have been afraid— beside your father, your mother. 

Oh, my dear child, my earth's blossom, my forest-nestling, 
my heaven's star, my mountain-berry! 

Oh, my dear child, oh, I imagined, oh, I thought there was 
no place for my son! Oh, still there were hollows, still there were 
dales, there was a place for my dear child. 

Oh, my father, my mother, oh, I am letting my child go who 
understands nothing, oh, who knows nothing yet! Oh, my father, 
oh, my mother, oh, take him by his white hands, seat him on the 
bench of the shades— oh, teach my child! 

(AJgirdas Landsbergis) 



49 



II 

Foems 



Kristijonas Donelaitis 

THE SEASONS (excerpts) 
(horn) The Spring's Joys 

Now the sun rose again to rouse the world 

and laughed to topple down chill winter's labors. 

And cold's creations, with the ice, diminished 

as foam of snow changed everywhere to nothing. 

Soon the bland weather stroked and woke the fields, 

called up herbs of all species from the dead. 

Thickets and every heath bestirred themselves; 

hill, meadow, dale threw down their sheepskin jackets. 

All that had perished in foul autumn, tearful, 

in the lake clung to life the winter through, 

or in some burrow slept beneath a bush, 

crept forth in crowd and throng to welcome summer. 

And rats with skunks walked out of their cold crannies 

as crows, ravens and magpies, with the owls, 

mice and their offspring and the moles, praised warmth. 

Beetles, mosquitos, flies, a bounce of fleas 

formed their batallions everywhere to plague us 

and sting both peasant and his genteel Sir. 

And the queen bee remembered to awaken 

her hive and send it forth to gainful labor. 

Through chink and opening they swarmed in clouds 

to play their tuneful pipes in the mild air. 

Spiders, in corners motionless, wove yarn 

or soundless, climbed the scaffolds of their snares. 

And wolves and bears hopped to the forest-edge, 

joyful that someone might be there to rend . . . 

(Clark Mills) 

(from) The Toils of Summer 

''Hail, everchanging world, you've kept the feasts of springtime; 

Hail, man too, for you've survived to see the summer. 

Hail, your lusty sniffings; hail, your joy in flowers, 

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Hail! God grant you goodly springtimes in abundance; 
Strapping and carousing, may you live to meet them. 
God grant this to each who, loving his Lithuania, 
Tends his chores as serf and, faithful, speaks Lithuanian. 
May he meet, God willing, every spring robustly, 
May he go on merrymaking into summer." 
Thus, before Whitsuntide, Prickus roused the peasants 
With a slant on how to labor in their serfdom. 

'Took, a sturdy restless body, always busy, 
Seems to be a special gift from God, His finest. 
Such a man will hustle roundly till he's drooping, 
Bow before his meager supper with contentment, 
Having eaten, thank the Lord with satisfaction. 
Roll into his bed, bedrowsed but strong and happy. 
He outwits the gentleman who, richly tailored, 
Reaches for his spoon, but stops to list his ailments. 
What's the good that Mikols gives the world his presence, 
Bobbles bloated paunch, himself puffed like a bladder? 
Like some lowly rogue, he's troubled and uneasy, 
Ever cringing, for, like Cain, he's scared of heaven. 
What's the good that Diksas, naked in his riches. 
Kneels before his hoard of gold and worships, groaning? 
When he needs to use one coin, he's scared to take it; 
Starved, he swallows uncooked victuals like an idiot, 
Shivering in his ragged finery, near naked. 

''We Lithuanians shod in bast shoes, we're called wretches. 

We're too lowly for the lords and all their servants; 

But we're not afflicted by their lordly ailments. 

How they grunt and groan in town and country manor 

While the summer comes to cheer us with a visit; 

There's one with his gout, he's bawling loud and loutish. 

There's another, how he bellows for a doctor! 

Ah, but why are rich men plagued by such afflictions? 

Why docs death reap up the lords before their hour? 

It's no riddle; scoffing at the chores of peasants. 

Lazy, shamming good, they overstuff their stomachs; 

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We, the serfs they scorn, our stomachs hght with skimmings, 
Buttermilk and whey, we hurry-scurry briskly; 
With a snatch of bacon or Lithuanian sausage. 
We work better at the labors f reed upon us." . . . 



(horn) The Autumn's Riches 

Again the sun abandons us, she trundles upward, 
Turns so soon and down the west she sinks so quickly! 
Daily dimming, she begrudges us her radiance. 
Daily longer, shadows yawn and stretch before us. 
Winds, in fits and starts, try out their wings and bellow. 
Forcing motes of warmth to scatter from their hideouts. 
Now the day, no longer tepid, growing chilly. 
Stirs old folk to wake and burrow for their sheepskins, 
Hustles wife and feebled goodman to the oven, 
Badgers those outdoors to slouch back to the cottage 
For the warmth of steaming soup and good hot victuals. 

Earth, her every corner soggy, blubbers softly 
For our wheels slash through her washed-out back. 
Before, how smoothly two old horses dragged our load; 
Now, with four good horses struggling, we bog down. 
Wheel on axle, groaning, gags and, grinding, turns. 
Earth, besmirched, is churned and shattered into chunks. 
Fields in patches swim and splatter, drowning e\'er}avhere, 
Rain, splish-splashing, washes down the backs of folks. 
Bast shoes, stuffed in shabby boots, soak up the water. 
While they stomp and knead foul mud like dough. 
Ah, where are you now, you wondrous days of spring, 
When we, re-opening the windows of the cottage, 
Welcomed back your first warm flood of sunshine? 
Like a vision which, through sleep, we saw so surely 
Yet, on waking, shyly shared and barely mentioned. 
That was how the joy of summer passed away . . . 

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All that once, in celebrating summer, scurried, 

Fluttered through the fields and gaily hopping skittered, 

All that, swaying to and fro, rose to the clouds 

And joyously came down to share the grain and insect. 

All have gone, forsaken us, and fled to hiding. 

These old melancholy fields alone remain; 

Their loveliness is with us like a sunken grave . . . 



(Demie Jonaitis) 



. . . Don't we all know how we're born, with everyone naked, 
Slippered Duke as well as us poor devils in sandals. 
Emperor the same as one of his shawl-covered subjects? 
Like the best-dressed gentleman, the beggar is born moronic 
And, no differently, he sucks on the breasts of a woman. 
Sir in silks and serf concealed by straw have to whimper 
Till the time when both at last start sensibly thinking. 
Whether little serf or master empties his bowels, 
One must wipe his bottom with a strip of linen. 
Then must wash his dirty diaper out in water . . . 

Every man must make an effort even at gaping 

Once he's spiraled out of darkness into the daylight 

And when later, dreaming in the cradle, he hollers; 

Merely being born makes each one equally wretched. 

Next time heirs are tucked in, in their elegant trundles. 

While the kids in huts are shoved to shadowy corners 

Or, if swaddled, set in shabby straw for their bedding, 

Ask yourself if they themselves brought much of their riches. 

Of the gentry, not a one was born with his weapons. 

Nor has any newborn peasant ever delivered 

Parts for rakes, his wooden plow, or teeth for a harrow. 

Meeting peasants, highborn lords puff up with their pride like 

Globes of bacon fat afloat on leftover soupstock; 

But the wretched peasant, holey cap in his hands, stands 

Trembling by his empty stove for fear of their lightning 

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Or, from far away, bows low, respectfully stooping. 

God appoints a eivil place for every person: 

Some, parading crests as awe-inspiring princes, 

Others, slogging through the muck as diggers of cowdung . . . 

(Theodore Melnechuk) 



(horn) The Cares of Winter 

Ah, the winter's scowling wraths are already returning, 
And again the bristling north wind is flying to scare us. 
Look, how everywhere on pondwater panes are appearing 
Just as, in that house, a glazier is putting in windows. 
And the fishes' home, where bullfrogs saluted the summer, 
Puts its armor on, because of the quarrels of winter. 
Sending all its animals to sleep in the darkness. 
There, the northern wind has frightened the fields with its 

scolding 
So that bogs and swamps are shrinking, contracting themselves to 
Stop the puddles of mud from their usual splashing and gurgling. 
Listen, how the road, when skipping wheels try to strike it. 
Rattles— having frozen— like a well-tightened snaredrum 
So resounding that its sound keeps echoing in you. 
Thus the world begins again to welcome the winter. 

Well, I guess it's time: it won't be long till Christmas 
Holiday begins, and Advent wants to end by tomorrow. 
Fall, that elephant, too painfully annoyed us. 
Rudely spattering the mud it wallowed around in. 
All who had to put some shoes on, bast or wooden. 
Cursed the autumn for its works and its sloppy messes. 
Gentlemen, who fly around on splendid stallions. 
Going visiting each day in the finest of garments. 
Also cursed the filthy autumn when the mud splashed. 
Therefore all the people turned their faces north^^•ard, 
Most impatient for a winter of dryness, complaining. 

Then, while everyone lamented, a glow started spreading; 
Soon, across the sky, the fluttering wands of the \^intcr 

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Chased the stormy weather to the south, where the stork sleeps. 

Later, thrusting out her head from the clouds, the winter 

Quarreled like a shrew about the dungs of the autumn, 

And, with frosts, she burned away its oozing labors; 

Once she'd shoveled up the fall's manures, the winter 

Built us all a road upon the horrible mudflats, 

Teaching how to skate and fly again with sledges. 

Now, where formerly we celebrated the springtime, 

Gaily plucking for our use his herbs and his petals. 

And where later warmer pleasures ended with summer, 

There have risen drifts of snow with hillocks of whiteness. 

And the flowers of the winter, that winter has woven. 

It is wonderful to see how the forests of pinetrees 

Show up everywhere, with curly crests, and bearded. 

And, like powdered dandies, stand with elbows akimbo . . . 

(1714-1780) (Theodoie Melnechuk) 



Kristijonas Gotlihas Milke 

(fiom) The Castle-Hill 

As when foul weather holds the land. 
The thieving jackdaws gather thick, 
Fly swiftly from their hungry trees 
To peaceful homes for safer food; 
Thus came the gawking Germans down. 
From all their lairs the Germans came, 
Crossbearers* riding in the lead, 
To fight the peaceful Prussian* men. 
No battle this, unfair, uneven, 
Crossbearers in their darkened armor, 
Trained full for blood, clever in war. 
Rode on in constant victory . . . 



* Crossbearers: Knights of die Teutonic Order who drove eastward in the 12th- 
15th centuries to wage prolonged wars against the Lithuanians. Prussians: Prusi 
or Borussi, a Baltic people living in so-called East Prussia, conquered and almost 
exterminated by the Teutonic Order in the 13th century. Not to be confused 
with the German inhabitants of the Prussian state. 

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Proud the armored Germans rode, 
And stopped. Could not defeat or pass 
The brave Lithuanians there, 
Alone against the armored foe. 
As when a gale shuts out the sky, 
And storms rage heavy in the land; 
When thunder roars so close above 
All beasts are frightened in the fields, 
And brushwood bends and tears apart 
While spruees fall like broken sticks, 
And firs and birches break in half 
As if axed down by hands of men; 
The great oak stands alone and brave. 
His branches spread invincible, 
His great roots deep in fertile earth. 
Thus stood the Lithuanians, 
Unbroken, unafraid, alone. 
Through fifty years they gathered stood, 
To battle still the German might. 

(1736-1806) (Dennis Lyndsj 



Dionyzas Poska 

(from) The Peasant of Samogitia and Lithuania 

Your fate is precious, yet it's held of little worth, 
Although your busy hands collect the fruits of earth. 
If I can not decrease your sorrows by my art. 
At least ril make the world recall what grie\ es your heart. 

O peasant, you defend the kings and monarchs, and 
You are the central beam on which their fortunes stand; 
You prop of rank, you barn of v^'ealth, you ant of \\ork. 
You don't know what it is to lie around and shirk! 
You feeder of all ages, whose purity is true, 

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Of courtesy the definition may be— you! 

You careful guardian of virtue's fatherhood! 

—These names, unlucky man, are yours to keep for good, 

O peasant, benefactor of the world, why must 
You be as disregarded as the wind-blown dust? . . . 

(1757-1830) (Theodore Melnechuk) 



DAWN 



Antanas Strazdas 

Arisen, arisen. 
The morning star is up. 
The cock begins to crow. 

Lark, lark, 
The morning meadow lark 
Dances on the wind and flies. 

O sky, 
The lark clamors in the sky, 
Hens cluck in the pale yard. 

The ox 

Bellows to the new fields. 
Kicks at the brown earth. 

Lambs 
Prance through the morning 
Light, and play their dance. 

And there! 
There past the dark trees, 
What is it glistens, rises? 

Sun, sun. 
The sun is pure bright 
Gold on the awakened land. 

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Sun stirs 
The lark in high morning, 
The roses in the valleys. 

Dew, dew, 
Wet, the delicate dew 
With the odor of green grass. 

Fly, fly. 
The cuckoo cries in the tree, 
The dove coos in the air. 

Run, run, 
The hare runs in the field, 
Alert ears crossed to listen. 

Gone, gone, 
The evil time has gone. 
All is good and new. 

1763-1833) (Deium Lyiids) 



Simonas Stanevicius 

THE HORSE AND THE BEAR 

Where from of old the pure Nevezis flows 
And lends its current to the Niemen's might. 
There on a summer's day the rising sun 
Filled hills with joy and waves with golden light. 

A tethered horse was resting in the field, 
Musing upon his servitude and toil, 
How small his share of oats and brief his sleep, 
Till dawn dispelled the dew from the grassy soil. 

''Soon I must rise and work," the horse complained, 
''And drag the wagon through the sun's hot rays," 
When sudden terror put his thoughts to flight: 
A sight he had not seen now caught his gaze. 

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Down from the hill, across the winding path, 
Mid trunks and tree-stumps rotted by early rain, 
Swerving among the hazels on the lea, 
A bear drew near and trailed a broken chain. 

'Tear not," said he. ''No harm shall threaten thee. 
Between our fathers concord e'er remained. 
And now their sons endure a common plight: 
Thy feet are tethered and my neck is chained." 

(1799-1848) (Rafael SeaJey) 



Antanas Baranauskas 

(horn) The Pine Grove of Anyksciai 

. . . What fragrance! Here the resin of the pines, 

the scent of blossoms on the wind wafted! 

You recognize the clover in the meadow, 

both red and white; know camomile and thyme, 

herbs in the fallow fields; know the unique 

smell of the anthill, from its own black mound. 

From trees and their leaves, pine needles and cones, 

such wealth of perfumes! And each time the air 

stirs, it assails you with another scent. 

Cranberries bring the forest smell, with moss, 

and fragrant as an orchard in explosion, 

the branches flower. It is as if the forest 

breathed like a living creature! She exhales 

her odors through the meadows, and through meadows 

and fields, takes them again— in the pine groves 

the fertile plowlands are delectable: 

thus in the air, all woven, all diluted, 

the fragrances confound the nose itself! 

It is as if the meadows, fields and forest, 

in full agreement, should compound a precious 

perfume, and swing a censer to God's glor}^ 

$2 



in love and peace— it is like laughter, song, 
violin voices, cries of sorrow, all 
blended so perfectly, so well together 
that none is separable, and all meet 
in one whole, oh, as sadness takes the heart. 



(Clark Mills) 



Ah, but the sighs of the forest are lovely. 
It rustles and surges, rushes and questions; 
By midnight it reaches a stillness so silent 
You can hear the break of a bud into blossom. 
The holy word of each tree to its branches; 
Watchful, the stars glow, mournful, the dew falls. 
So peaceful the heart, it deadens the senses 
With prayer that lifts the spirit towards heaven. 
The light in the east at daybreak swells upward. 
The head of each plant, dew-heavy, bends lower; 
Into such silence, the forest awakens 
And slowly the day starts its holy discourse. 

Who stirs? Just a leaf on the breath of a breeze, 

The eyes of a nestling suddenly opening. 

Who bustles? A wolf who, scenting the daylight, 

Skulks from his nightly hunt through the bushes; 

A fox seeks her hole, her teeth in a gosling, 

A badger crawls from his hideout and scurries, 

A doe in the pinegrove prances off merrily, 

A squirrel plunges from pinetree to pinetree. 

Here is an ermine, there is a marten, 

Myriads of animals, scampering, gamboling. 

Who chatters? A woodpecker chips at a treetrunk. 
Bleats? A jacksnipe deep in the branches. 
Whispers? A hissing old snake on a woodstump. 
The stream of the river splashes and tumbles. 
Who gossips? Geese gather together to gaggle, 
The stork in his nest near the forest cackles. 
'Try pry!" call the ducks flown off to the swampland; 

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The hoopoe questions his female and children, 
''What, what to bring you? That nonsense you jabber! 
What, what, what? Grain, flies or earthworms?" 
The cuckoo, clowning, inquisitive, chuckles 
Tlien mournfully groans and guffaws in his cuckooing. 

The forest rings and resounds! The oriole 
Shrieks, ''Eve, Eve, don't herd in the meadow!" 
The woodcock reels by the river: "Riu-riu!" 
What a rolling, trumpeting bedlam of voices. 
Each pressing and bursting with its own opinions- 
Goldfinches, thrushes, titmice, leafsingers, 
Magpies and jays, each alone in his music: 
They chuckle, and grieve, and rave with such nonsense! 
Soaring above them, the nightingale warbles. 
Full-throated, sonorous, achingly sorrowful. 
He's changeful: he sighs in the thicket, yet glowingly 
Pierces the soul like the songs of Lithuania . . . 

How wondrous, rare, the trees that once flourished. 
Some leafed without blossoms, some needled and flowering; 
Scholars there were who knowingly named them. 
But nameless they were to people who loved them . . . 

Even in wastelands, our spirit is quickened 

By forests that live in the songs of our forefathers. 

Our parents, treasuring song like a vision. 

Were wakened: they planted this pinegrove and worried 

Each day as they watched the shoots of each seedling, 

Till flourishing pinetrees, thick as the rushes 

Gladdened young hearts and the spirit of children . . . 

Then came the stomping; the Russian, a steward 
Surveying the forest, stationed his watchers; 
They rutted the roads, they routed out pickers 
Of mushrooms, they banned even grazing of cattle. 
Hard was their axe— in the dark of the forest- 
Nightly they hacked, they stealthfly bartered, 

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Selling our trees, they swindled their masters. 

They silenced the grieving folk of Anyk^ciai 

With a fist in the mouth. They drove all the mourners, 

Year after year, to clean up the forest; 

They measured the waste that was gathered and sold it. 



The hills are still rising, naked, stump-knotted, 
Tears wash them gently, song tells their story. 
Lone is one song, unfinished and silenced; 
The heart grown benighted, the soul darkly troubled. 
Are waiting. The force that devoured the forest 
Fell on the spirit— and broke off the song . . . 

(1835-1902) (Demfe /onaitfs) 



Antanas Vienazindys 
SWEET, HOW SWEET 

Sweet, how sweet is heaven, and how far away! 
Can it be, dear God, You'll call me up some day? 
Shall I trudge no more on thorns, these paths of barbs? 
Shall I walk at last on pavements smooth with stars? 

Shall I lose this load I carry pace by pace? 
Shall I have some rest and see Your holy face? 
Day by day goes by and it must come to pass 
You will pluck me from the earth like bending grass. 

Highest Father, will you keep or let me go. 
Poor man, small man, wretch, the lowest of the low, 
Smoke, a handful, dust-mote that Vve always been? 
Will Your mansions open, will You take me in? 

(1841-1892) {Dcimc Joimitis) 

65 



Petras Arminas 

HORSES 

Horses, on a chilly day, 
Labored to pull home the hay. 
One suggested to the other, 
''Let's upset the wagon, brother. 
In the puddle." And with speed 
They performed the very deed! 
But I ask, what was the gain? 
Wet hay multiplied the strain. 
And the dripping, sodden load 
Left them wholly without food . . . 
For, to those who have not striven, 
Dear child, bread is never given. 

(1853-1885) (Eloise Downer) 



Adomas Jakstas 

THE DIPLOMAT 

Here's a fellow too discreet 
Even for the world to beat- 
Keeps the humble in their place, 
Spares the powerful his face; 
When permitted to attend them. 
Careful never to offend them: 
At their doors, polite and neat. 
Ears alert as tongue is sweet. 
Thoughtfully he leaves behind 
Cane and rubbers and his mind. 

(1860-1938) (Theodore Melnechuk) 

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Maironis 

FROM BIRUTE MOUNTAIN 

With an undulant surging of waves from the west, 
Let my torso be flooded with coldness, or me 
With the might that my heart will have gladly expressed 
When it's done so as grandly as you, Baltic Sea! 

How I longed for you infinite! And, how I yearned 
To perceive the mysterious voices you gave 
Their release, only you understand, who have spumed 
Through the ages to silence the towering wave. 

If you're sad, so am I! But I couldn't say why; 
All I ask is for hurricanes bellowing loud: 
Though they show me no peaceful oblivion, I 
Want the billows beside me as close as a crowd. 

Want a friend to be closer: I trust him; he'll trace 
Like a tempest's the path of my torment-to-be; 
He'll keep it a secret as dark as his face 
And remain through the ages as restless as me. 

(1862-1932) (Theodore Melnechuk) 



THE LAKE OF THE FOUR CANTONS: EVENING 

The limpid waters of the lake 
rocked, green emerald; 
and oarless, the light vessel swayed 
where the cool was wafted. 

And indolent, the sun went down 
beyond the Alps; and Lucerne's bells 
offered to God on high the sparse 
labors of man and nature. 

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The leaf, still warm with sun, 
glittered with drops of dew. 
The mountain breathed a scent of roses 
redolent with health. 

Peaceful, the golden reveries 
I wove in the dawn light; 
swiftly they flew, informed 
with grace, on the paths of sky. 

The Milky Way was their starred guide 
as the heart went with them 
toward the remote, beloved 
land of the fathers. 

What recollections, incidents 

that had once known life 

dawned and rose, one and then another 

beyond that dim frontier! 

Vertical at the window ledges 
blossoms of pearl stare up, 
and in their caps of motley red 
turn multitudes of dahlias. 

And from their childhood, maidens 
weave their braids with rue; 
the brother rears the dark bay colt 
for saddling in the fall. 

Oh there, there flows wide 
the blue sash of Dubysa! . . . 
O my tear, why do you slide 
down my cheek, like a pearl? 

They flowed past— my most dear 
epochs of youth, now so 
remote, so long ago, 
one thmks they were but dreams. 

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What recollections, incidents 

that had once known life 

dawned and rose, one and then another, 

beyond that dim frontier! 

(Clark Mills) 



SONG OF ANTIQUITY 

Word is here, from as far as Vilnius: Saddle the steed. 
In Marienburg Teutonic knights move to destroy us. 
Goodbye, dear heart, my sister! Be still. Wait for me. 
If I not perish, I shall return, joyous. 

A long time now, Teulions gather their precious wealth: 
gold spires, and chests of silk, soft to the feel. 
Dear love, you'll have a silk scarf and a belt of gold, 
and I, a Prussian sword of tempered steel. 

Spring's dawn has broken, and the lark sings on forever. 
Where is my lad, my love? Why does he not return? 
At sunset there was battle. Blood poured down and wasted. 
My love fell for his homeland. And I mourn. 

Ladies, companions, sing their joy, adorned in silks. 
My tears burst out and shine. I see the graveyard stand. 
Dearest one, you'll not speak small words of love to me, 
nor slip the golden ring on a white hand. 

(1862-1932) V (Chik Mills) 



A VOW 



Motiejus Gustaitis 



I made myself a vow 
Never to walk these ways. 
And yet I walk them now, 
Forgetting bitter days; 
And I shall often tread 
Where my bare feet have bled. 

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Again in my tired heart 
Gathers a storm of flame. 
But have I not known smart? 
And is despair a name? 
No mailed tomorrow's hght 
Can put this storm to flight. 

But hsten! Ghostly bells 
Come winging from my soul. 
Their shadow-music swells; 
Up to the stars they toll. 
And through the singing air 
Fall dews to still despair. 

(1870-1927) (W. K. Matthews) 



Jurgis Baltrusaitis 
THE RUSTLING OF HAIR-GRASS 

Greet the tender grassblades by your path, and listen 
While the clay-sprung grass that's fine as hair will whisper, 
Whisper to your heart, which seems so hard of hearing, 
"You and I, to time eternity, are equal . . ." 

For Almighty Father God has so arranged that, 
Since you both accepted as your destination 
Modest earth, you're halves of an equation: riddles 
Both: in bloom and ashes, comparable miracles . . . 

Catch this living knowledge, let your eyes be opened. 
And from then on you will draw your dwindling moment 
From forever— and not have to split the empire 
Of the world to muddy earth and starry heaven . . . 

(1873-1944) (Theodore Melnechuk) 

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Pranas Vaicaitis 

SONG OF THE ROISTERER 

Every tomcat has his she-cat, 
Every gander has his she-goose, 
Every gentleman his lady, 
Every hired hand his she-maid. 
I, a man, an oak, a model, 
I must have my brandy bottle. 

She-cats always beat their tomcats. 
She-geese pluck the ganders' feathers. 
She-girls make a butt of fellows, 
Ladies ridicule their lordships. 
Me— I'm lucky. Always handy, 
Always true— a friend, my brandy. 

In my pocket will I lug it- 
How ril fondle it and hug it! 
Out the stopper— and I savor 
Brandy of the finest flavor. 
Then this breast glows all the lighter. 
All my wits spark up the brighter. 

Oh were Nemunas, our river. 
Wise as it is venerable, 
' And today, with pity for us, 

Spilled out every drop of water- 
Filled up to the brim with brandy. 
Flowing, glowing just with brandy! 

Then, O joyous days, the hubbub! 
Then what luck, the cheers, the glut-up 
Far-off folk and beasts, all ^^earning. 
Fish and birds in haste, all journeying 
To the Nemunas to tipple 
Brandy gurgling in each ripple! 

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Beasts would drink and roar and bellow, 
Hoot and dance— each maid and fellow! 
Fish leap high so they could dive in: 
What a drink to be alive in! 
Joyous, all would hop, a-swigging; 
Earth itself would joggle, jigging. 

(1876-1901 ) (Demie Jonaitis) 

Mykolas Vaitkus 

THE MORNING HOUR 

The pale dawn rises slowly 

From mists not yet disbanded; 

Its face is like an angel's, 

All grave as it is candid. 

Light streaks the cloudy gauzes 

With woof of silver metal; 

A great rose blooms and scatters 

Pink petal after petal. 

And soon the sun is climbing 

In golden-bannered glory^ 

As pure and fresh as lilies, 

As innocence in story. 

He stares in naked wonder 

At swarms of wandering creatures. 

As if he saw them newly. 

And they saw alien features. 

The green earth sings his praises. 

The air is bright with cheeping; 

But he grows hot with passion 

That breaks in tears of weeping. 

(1883- ) (W. K Matthews) 



ASTERS 



Liudas Gira 

Out there beside the garden wall 
I glimpse belated asters blowing; 
Yet I don't mourn the summer's going 

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Or weep the ruin of the fall. 
Out there beside the garden wall 
I glimpse belated asters blowing. 

The sky's blue heart-compelling gladness 
That only yesterday was ours, 
Laughing the laughter of the flowers, 
Clouds over now with ashen sadness. 
The asters too will soon cease blowing 
Out there beside the garden wall; 
Yet I don't mourn the summer's going 
Or weep the ruin of the fall. 

Each heart of us, while time's foot ranges. 
Suffers the season's colored changes. 
When first love wakes in sudden glory, 
Spring characters her fragrant story; 
Then an intense delight enthralls us 
As summer's golden trumpet calls us; 
And when pain mars our patterned pleasure 
Our days are telling autumn's measure. 

Out there beside the garden wall 
I glimpse belated asters blowing; 
Yet I don't mourn the summer's going 
Or weep the ruin of the fall. 
( 1884-1946) (W. K. Matthews) 

Kleopas Jurgelionis 
SEA AND WENCHES 

While the maidens were raking the hay, 
I stood apart on the sea-shore. 
Splendor of the sea, the girls aglow. 
And my heart so restless. 

The white waves of the sea arising, 
Bright with splashing silver. 
The girls' yellow braids in the breeze 
Sparkled like amber. 

73 



As the southwestern blew stronger, 
The sea rose in its roaring force. 
The girls at their raking, now grabbed 
By the wind, I called closer to me. 

And as the sea in all its wild roaring 
Kept lashing me with the foam, 
I managed to gather beside me 
Both sea and glittering wenches! 

(1886- ) (George Reavey) 

Petras Vaiciunas 

HAY MOWING 

Silent haze rests low on fields. 
Pale the gold sun through pines. 

The scythers move, man after man. 
Down in drops, the morning dew. 

Young the grass, green the grass. 
Scythes ring clear, scythes cut. 

Meadow flowers, bow your heads- 
Young girl rakers pass your way. 

God guide your hand! Thank you, thank you! 
Swaths like a field of many snakes. 

Scythe drives scythe across the day. 
Row on row the grass lies cut. 

Day sings, grass waves, scythes ring 
In green meadow and past the woods. 

At field's edge, girls glitter. 

Laughter and words— a festive morning! 

Sun high, sun hot, breasts hot. 
Green meadows, green the mowing. 
(1890-1960) (Dennis Lynds) 

74 



Faustas Kirsa 

THE WOODEN CHRIST 

In his fathers' home, a farmer who's a hundred 
Carves a wooden model Lord that works some wonders. 

On the face of Jesus he inscribes his misery 
When they sent his son to prison in Siberia. 

He cuts deep, the wood dust drops, the god doll gazes- 
Anguished god indeed, created by its maker. 

He, to crucify himself his heart and torments, 
Spears the side of God and spikes the palms and insteps. 

Then he twists a crown of thorns to grave the forehead; 
White the wood the old man gouges, goads and tortures. 

With the hands at rest upon the knobby kneecaps. 
Wooden Christ himself is born, alive, and painwracked. 

Chips pile up to ease the heart, for Christ is risen, 
Christ himself is risen from the old man's chisel. 

Now the godwright glows, and now he sees the miracle : 
Round the head of Christ are lightrays in a circle. 

When he stripped the final splinter from the icon. 
You could hear the lips of the creator speaking: 

"God, I don't believe this piece of wood requires 
Labor out of me to bring about a miracle. 

''God, you wipe my tears dry, turn my pain to sweetness 
Through your agony with both your temples bleeding. 

''If you do perform them— miracles, I beg you: 
Save the innocent, but punish persecutors!" 

75 



And, when he had borne the statue to the church, why 
All the people of the land returned to virtue. 

And, his lips against the wound of Jesus' passion, 

He himself begged mercy for his youth's transgressions. 

(1891- ) (Theodoie Mdnechuk) 

Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas 
AT MIDNIGHT 

There is a single hour that comes 
amidst the night 

when to the fixed white stars your prayers 
take soundless flight. 

How limpid, endless in itself, 
lies radiant space, 

as if the stars moved, in your heart, 
each to its place. 

In those blue vaults, all that has being, 
out, up, and down! 

Through their immense expanses, you 
dissolve and drown. 

Now prayer and sanctity have gone, 
nor is there sin. 

Oh, let the avid heart speak out: 
Heaven will win. 
(1893- ) (Chik Mills) 

THE SORROW-LADEN* 

My own dear God, how luminous the nights! 
To what a height towers the wide firmament! 
And stars, the stars! Immense and small, they glisten 
and even that, my own dear God, is sorrowful. 



*Rupmtojelis, "The Sorrowful One," is a small wood sculpture of Christ carved 
by the village "godmakers." It presents Christ seated and leaning on his elbow; 
he looks down at the passers-by. Such figures usually stood at crossroads, either 
in a tree or within a small wooden '■house" or "chapel" set upon a pole. 

76 



I told myself, Fll walk the level highway, 
the even road of wide free will and freedom, 
the even road that opens through a night 
radiant for the reveries of the youthful. 

But why, my own dear God, why, why do you 

lean by the open road and wait in sorrow? 

By the road where the veriest of sorrows 

drift alone through the days, and sigh and wander? 

O sorrow-laden, ever watchful, grant me 
these reveries by the road awhile this evening 
—as high in heaven, radiant stars so glitter 
that even this, my own dear God, is sorrowful. 

(1893- ) (CJark Mills) 



Kazys Binkis 

THE WATER-LILY 

Upon a reed-pond in a meadow. 

Like moonlit snow all pale and gleaming. 

Once bloomed a silver water-lily. 

Upon a reed-pond in a meadow . . . 

Sunshine or rain, it lay there stilly, 

Speared in with reed-shafts, deeply dreaming. 

Upon a reed-pond in a meadow, 

Like moonlit snow all pale and gleaming. 

(W. K. Matthews) 



CLOUD-CALVES 



Spring trickles into the meadows. 
Only at dawn, small puffs of cold. 
About the barns of heaven 
wander the little cloud-calves. 

77 



From sheepskin coat draw forth your soul. 
Into the winds, free, let her go. 
And let her tend, milk-rich there, 
the herd of clouds in air. 

(1893-1942) (Clark Mills) 



Balys Sruoga 

(hom) Kazimieras Sapiega 

Look at me, people! Do you recognize me? 
I am warlord of Lietuva, and palatine 
of Vilnius, my name known through all Europe. 
Planted secure in my immense possessions 
I stand before you, hatless, like a child, 
afraid to lift my eyes up to the sky! 
Look at me! I, a gray old man, slashed 
in battles throughout all my life. And I 
bow down to earth before you. And I tremble 
for fear time will not give me time to tell 
all that my anguished land, on Golgotha, 
whispered into my heart . . . 

Except in nobles, I could not see man. 

Through their eyes I did see my country's plains; 

hammered Lietuva's fortune with their swords. 

—They were insipid, bitter, unsubstantial 

as foam on a beaker of mead that bubbles, blankets 

the juices: skim that foam to find the sweetness 

—they were the froth on a swift-running stream 

that sucks into itself the surface refuse 

and covers the pure depths below where, azure, 

the sky repeats itself . . . 

Oh, no! It was the Lietuva of nobles 

that died, not ours. She has survived the winter's 

rigors and roars out, now, like spring singing. 

Refuse and foam rejected from her shores, 

a spirit will arise! And with a thunder 

78 



that sounds and echoes down the Urahan forests, 

past the Carpathian crests, and to the Elbe. 

—I go now to Lietuva in her winter. 

ril stand at crossroads hke a crucifix; 

at giants' graves I'll toll nightlong, like bells 

—that thus, in bitterest cold, in a heavy cloak, 

the heartbeat of Lietuva should not falter . . . 

(1896-1947) (Clark Mills) 

Juozas Tysliava 
THE WAGON 

Four gray wheels and two bay horses 
Hasten up the hill; 
A man's years are not accustomed 
Ever to stand still. 

Sunshine gilds the beasts and wagon, 
Wheels and hoofs cut weeds; 
Through the world speed on afleeting 
A man and his steeds. 

Whirling winds whine, wail and whistle 
From a mountain bare: 
Is that you, O Fortune, Fortune, 
Standing headless there? 

Four gray wheels and two bay horses 
Speed the human load, 
Up and down the all-observant 
Silent serpent-road. 

(Nadas Rastenis) 

Juozas Tysliava 
SPRING 

The last day of April made her bed. 

As w^hole forests of cloud, capsizing, swayed in the West. 

With a moonbeam knife the night sliced 

The loaf of the sky, porous with stars. 

79 



No herd of wild mustangs neighed in the prairies, 
No Mississippi in flood swept away the towns; 
A windmill, urged by the southwestern, rose like Christ, 
A windmill grinding grain on another planet. 

Filtering bird songs through a filter silence. 

The thunder of Spring will reverberate before cock-crow: 

May the birds then worship me like a lord. 

At whose command the earth trembles from morning till night. 

(1902-1961 ) (George Reavey) 



Stasys Santvaras 
MAYBUG 

Maybug, tell me the labors you perform. 
As light fills the dark valley and the land 
where will you wade in the wet sand, 
after the storm? 

Where were you born? In cherry blossoms? In a tear 
of sun was your clear variegated garment made? 
What are your duties, maybug, in the shade 
of this dark valley here? 
(1902- ) (Clark MilJs) 



Jonas Aistis 
SAINT SEBASTIAN 

I trembled; eyes uplifted, I deplored 
That agony might break my will at last- 
One arrow here, the first to strike, O Lord, 
And all that dread anxiety has passed. 

I feel the fall of warmth and gentleness. 
Drop after drop on me; my joints melt, while 
Upon my vigil falls the far-off smile 
Of my Redeemer coming, luminous. 

80 



Almighty, gloried be! I thought, so long, 

This moment I would need a will that's strong. 

Instead, You come towards me ... O Lord, your light—. 

I cannot look, I'm blinded like the dead. 
The vaults ring, jubilant with gentle might. 
—I cannot lift my sinking, leaden head. 

(Demie Jonaitis) 



PHEDRA 

That evening, rivers overflowed! 
Their banks did not hold space enough. 
Carefree, the sun departed past the sea 
on a golden bridge. 

That evening, no ship foundered— gulls 
silenced their sorrowful cry, 
and it was joy, that streamed and flowed 
transparent— yes, joy flowed. 

That evening the white Pleiades drew pearls 
through the high vault of heaven— 
the bed of the river didn't even hope 
for the joyous, brimming waters to return. 

That evening, gay and endless, 

the kings of fairy-tales caroused; 

and on the mountain crest, with snows radiant, 

no eagle came to rest. 

That evening, the treasury aired itself; 
wine rained— and goblets broke! 
Joyous, the cranes returning 
leaned forward to the north. 

That evening, organs uttered their full sound: 
Magnificat anfma mea— 
as if a wind of grace out of the west 
should stroke the shore of a sea. 

81 



That evening and my footsteps and this joy 
met and were perfectly identical . . . 
That evening, as had never been, each leaf 
was drenched and washed in joy. 

(Clark Mills) 

OF AUTUMN AND A DOG 

Beyond the forest and the fields, 
past the blue seas and their white foam, 
a step-mother drove a princess out, 
drove her away from home. 

Autumn. And rain. A dog howled there, 
his cries muffled and few. 
And the princess' locks were fair 
and her eyes, flax-flower blue. 

And there was no one, none to care 
about the hound or the princess. 
Only a birch in the blown rain 
uttered a world's distress: 

Beyond the forest and the fields, 
past the blue seas and their white foam, 
a step-mother drove a princess out, 
drove her away from home. 
(1904- ) (CJaik Mills) 

Salomeja Neris 
DANDELION 

Dandelion, dandelion, flower miracle, 
why do you lean on wind at the field's edge? 
Where, where will you lay your white head down? 
And where drowse, as the late evening darkens? 

Wind rises, blows, tousles the locks 
and tears the white locks from the snowy head: 
over the faultless earth, autumnal field, 
carries the dandelion's fluffed white seedlets. 

82 



Dandelion, dandelion— oh, my own flower! 
I grieve now for your little head bleached white 
as I grieve for my new youth, so scattered 
by time and wind, at the field's edge. 

Could I but change into the field's gray sand, 
could I but lie still in the deep of earth! 
Could I but settle slowly, cold as stone, 
the Nemunas above me flowing, flowing . . . 



(Chik Mills) 



LILACS 



1904-1945 



A time before I could be. 
These lilacs bloomed. 
Soon, again nothing of me. 
They will bloom on. 
From sun, from wind, 
their petals fall, 
strewn like sand 
over my all. 



(Mary Phelps) 



FAMINE 



Antanas Rimydis 



The earth is piled high with saccharin tablets. 

And their drifts envelop the roads. 

Hard frost stalks about. 

Crumbling the rail track. 

A rail quivers and squeaks. 

A wolf sits between the rails, 

Howling like a wolf, 

A famished wolf. 

He begs for his food till the telegraph wires wail 

83 



Perhaps, at his post in some distant station, 

A sleepless telegrapher 

May receive the wolf's telegram: 

All the bells are booming in my head, 

And famine's violin plays in my heart. 

(1905- ) (George Rcavey) 



Antanas Miskinis 

LIKE SNOW, LIKE MUSIC 

Like snow, like music, and like blossoms. 
All things on earth, like echo, fade away; 
And so does the youth of twenty, burning 
To set the seven seas aflame. 

Our dream was to improve the world, 
Create a vast, immortal happiness. 
Such was our thought, but little we suspected 
That we had irrevocably lost the way. 

How do they feel, I wonder, who have the knack of living 
Or reposing on the seashore near white villas? 
But what can I sing now when the heart 
Is tired, disillusioned, almost? . . . 

Do the seas, the springtime, and the cherries 

In blossom, astonish us no more? 

I know too well where we are going, 

Where we are floating, and what it is we seek . . . 

Like snow, like blossoms, and like women, 
All things assume a gradual pallor: 
Like a willow stranded on a hill, bent 
All day long by winds, one stands alone. 

(1905- ) (George Rcavey) 

84 



Antanas Vaiciulaitis 
SUMMER 

They come, the holy days. 
And on the slope of pines 
mild currants, raspberries 
have flushed and darkened. 

You whisper to me from what lips today 

your warmth awakens, 

and drowned in lucid silence, 

ache of nostalgias dozes. 

(1906- ) (Chik Mills) 



Bernardas Brazdzionis 
IMAGE OF THE FUTURE 

Like a moss-bee, as evening wanes, 
our life will take flight back to the hive, the song 
already fallen still, the white frost still and fallen. 
Like God's thoughts, we shall gather at the threshold. 

On gray moss in a pine wood, her heart turned gray, 
youth tearful for her prayers astray will find redress in heaven. 
And you, beloved, in one night perhaps grown gray with me, 
blossoms of peony no longer in your cheeks . . . 

Thus we shall see ourselves in distant firelight, 
and for ourselves, from shadows, raise the ruined ancestral home. 
Till the sun gutters, flowers the sphere, the ring gold as a grape 
and we shall see our first love, veiled in white, walk past us. 

Potentates will bestow their wealth and palaces, 
and queens, their emeralds and pearls. 
In your name, Jesus, in the pastoral game of death, 
our sweetest shield, our paradisal consolation. 

85 



And priests and sisters, walled in their cold stone, 
and noble hierarehs and low-born servants 
wandered from moonlight into moonlight, 
O Lord, and have not found the path to your domain. 

Towards it, the echo e\'er by our side, through fields, 
towards it, one dry juniper needle in our hands, 
bare-headed and without adornment, we shall travel 
along the ice-locked way of All Souls' Day. 

The rivulet of mystery will burst out of the mountain. 
Our souls will bow down, tired, drink their fill, recover, 
more azure than the opal of the rainbow 
garlanded in the holy herbs of the high feast. 

Forget man's vain preoccupations, his wish to forget, 
his promises to you, earth, not to die— and many, oh many dreams! 
For darkness falls, the ship appears already and the waves 
crash, as without rest I draw near our Father's haven. 

(Clark MilJs) 



JOURNEY INTO NIGHT 

My sister told me, 'Tou are not my brother." 
My brother told me, ''You are not my brother." 
Where can I find a sister— where, a brother, 
Who am, to sister and to brother, alien? 

High up the Alps, deep-chasmed in the snows, 

St. Bernard's chapel hunches, hoar with years. 

A cold and lonely toller nods beside the bell 

And, sleeping, dreams an angel, lowering, awoke him. 

He walks now, searching for me— downhill: through night 
And day, through wind and snowdrift, thaws and freezing. 
He seems to brush my brow— his good soft hand upon me; 
He seems to touch my face— my heart he quickens. 

86 



Here below, my heart will sleep. Above, awaken. Its sun obscured, 
Its beating stilled, this heart had verged on death. 
Through fog— a tale: all, all is a trek through fog. And life itself 
Ascends through fog— a journey into night. 

(Demfe Jonaitis) 



COMMEDIA DELL^ARTE 

A man spoke in the street 
once, at my window, from his heart, 
his word a phrase that I repeat: 
Commedia. deJJ'arte. 

—Life weighs a full 100 tons. 

Heavy as sailors' laughter: Ha. Ha. Ha. 

Heavy, as great as, from the Vlth Station, once, 

the scarf of Saint Veronica. 

Some die refined, as if to nod— 
and others croak like dogs, too soon, unblessed, 
without bought exequies, or God . . . 
Missa est. 
(1907- ) (CJarkMiJIs) 



THE PIG 



Antanas Gustaitis 

Men dethrone the reigning dog; 

Man is toppled by his wife; 
At the summit, though, the pig 

Wears the diadem for life. 

Be it Lent or time for meat. 

Sow makes citizenry swine. 

Fills His Excellency's seat. 

Takes Milady's place in line. 

87 



Pig the concubine of pigs 

Grunts in windows, waddles out, 

Falls asleep on moneybags, 

Roots the heart up with her snout. 

Now she's served upon a platter, 

Aromatic, roasted brown; 
From a pedestal, she'll later 

Impudently stare you down. 

In the glade sing nightingales; 

Stars are pale; the east is pearled; 
Dressed in ticking, dressed in tails, 

Pig parades across the world. 

And you dream: as if on top 

Of your brow, the bristles grew 

Till, in gardens rooted up. 

Grunting pigs included you. 

1907- ) (Theodore Melnechul:) 



Grazina Tulauskaite 
UNKNOWN BIRD 

Now nobody returns, 

Nobody sings. 

Only pale clouds 

Exchange kisses in the mountains. 

Now music is gone, 
The bells are asleep. 
I rise every day 
To silence. 

I know I loved 
Though I was unloved. 
Life flies by in darkness 
Like an unknown bird. 
(1908- ) (/eanReavey) 

88 



Antanas Jasmantas 
ANNUNCIATION 

We waited too, like you; in every grain 
Of glittering sand, we saw Him. Day complete. 
The sun descended while the shadows came. 
And lay like lambskins gathered at our feet. 

Night falls. For us, the desert's glow will die, 
A curtain veil the stage, a darkness swell. 
Will He who, during sowing time, stopped by 
To call on you, now visit us as well? 

The small gate, swinging, creaks as though it's been 
Ajar— now someone on the path slips past 
And, droning, shimmers like a veil that's cast 
Across some golden world. But who's come in? 

Ah— a bee— that coming home this day 
Has, in the gathering darkness, lost its way. 

(1908- ) . (Demie /onaitisj 



Henrikas Radauskas 

THE WINTER^S TALE 

Guess what smells so. . . . You didn't guess. 
Lilies? Lindens? No. Winds? No. 
But princes and barbers smell so. 
The evening smells so, in a dream. 

Look: a line goes through the glass 
Bending quietly; and the hushed 
Light, in the tender mist. 
Is gurgling like a brook of milk. 

89 



Look: it's snowing, it's snowing, it's snowing. 

Look: the white orchard is falHng asleep. 

The earth has sunk into the past. 

Guess who's coming. . . . You didn't guess. 

Princes and barbers are coming, 

White kings and bakers, 

And the trees murmur, covered with snow. 



(Randall /arreJI) 



ARROW IN THE SKY 

I am an arrow that a child shot through 
An apple tree in bloom beside the sea; 
A cloud of apple blossoms, like a swan, 
Has shimmered down and landed on a wave; 
The child is wondering, he cannot tell 
The blossoms from the foam. 

I am an arrow that a hunter shot 
To hit an eagle that was flying by; 
For all his strength and youth, he missed the bird. 
Wounding instead the old enormous sun 
And flooding all the twilight with its blood; 
And now the day has died. 

I am an arrow that was shot at night 
By a crazed soldier from a fort besieged 
To plead for help from mighty heaven, but 
Not having spotted God, the arrow still 
Wanders among the frigid constellations. 
Not daring to return. 

(Theodore Melnechuk) 

APOLLO 

His profile, grave and fine, can sever 
Like sharpest sword. Do you not hear? 
Apollo passed this way. For ever 
The echo of his lyre— as clear 

90 



And crystalline as glass— resounds 

Through all our hushed and chambered space, 

And here still, in the cruel bounds 

Of night— the frozen marble face! 

And I must sing the tired old lays 

Of men beyond their earthbound ways. 

The sky is crossed by swallow routes, 
The heath is gay with dancing flutes, 
And on that scene the sun bestows 
The flush that women wear, the rose. 
And I must sing the age-old lays 
Of men beyond their earthbound ways. 

(Astrid Ivask) 

THE SUN, THE MOON AND THE STAR 

The cabaret star Viola d'Amore (Violet Dam), who has never 
heard of Vivaldi, comes onto the stage clad in fishscales and 
smoke, in a cloud heated by applause and drinks, in a halo of oil 
stocks. Transformed into a shriek, which extinguishes the mirrors* 
lights, she seizes the thick beam of the spotlight with both hands, 
in her dread of falling. The sun and the moon in the sky above 
pray for her, concerned over her fate. 

(1910- ) (Henrikas Radauskas) 

Antanas ^kerna 
FIRST REQUEST 

As one star falls, others remain aloft. 

They soar and await their fall. 

A man dies, and the others say: 

^'Thank God! It isn't I." 

A frog croaks in a marsh, her head thrown back 

—the dog lowers his own. 

(He cannot seize the frog.) 

91 



When oranges ripen in the south, the Arctic boulders 

feel naked without moss. 

And in a glass a woman gazes at herself: 

''What color should I dye my hair, now it is gray?" 

she asks her wrinkles. 

Stars, people, frogs, dogs, oranges, moss, perhaps 

you will explain the sense of things to me. 

( 191 1-1961 ) (Marie/o Fonsale) 



Leonardas Zitkus 
LOVE UNSPOKEN 

In her arms it was I, my mother hfted. 
The pendulum swung, slow and free. 
I raised my eyes, the hand of the clock shifted. 
The east held up the sun for me. 

I rose towards her in the slow, singing hours, 
my love unsaid through all the past— 
so slow, the endless opening of flowers! . . . 
The pendulum sways fast, too fast. 

(1914- ) (Clark Mills) 



Juozas Kekstas 
MAIOLI BLOOMS WITH POPPIES 

Maioli flowers with death and blood, Maioli blossoms 

with blood-red poppies. Mountains, meadows bloom with blood. 

Corpses in long rows. In this common place of rest 

lie Frenchman, Englishman, Hindu, Greek, Italian, Pole. 

(The fallen have forgotten all; aware of nothing 
and lucky, do not hear the friend's moans— crash of shells. 
San Angelo, Monte Cassino, Albanetta, Cairo 
perished ephemeral as dreams, as they themselves.) 

92 



Bridges down, markers gone, the roads we march 

to Rome burst into rubble, smoke and dust 

that choke the nightingales and cherry-flowering orchards. 

Your tired legs buckle and the nights weigh black, 

but friend, luckless as I, do not trip, do not fall! 

We do not need cantatas, anthems, pathos, lies. 
Our deaths, our lives are shoddy. We could no longer wait 
—no longer dear, our errant leisure. Night's Pompeii 
requires another end. Thus not to live, but to die here, 
we bear the lava of the war Vesuvius on tank and rifle. 

With death and blood Maioli flowers, and with poppies. 

In blood red as the poppies we inscribe strange history 

and in our dreams of freedom, shout: Liberta vedi e muorf. 

(1915- ) (CJarkMiJIsi 



Alfonsas Nyka-Niliunas 

A L^OMBRE DES JEUNES FILLES EN FLEUR 

Cold sprays of lilac melted, 

and in the frail drugged evening 

vaguely somehow disquieted— of what?— 

we trembled, as the doors would quarrel in fifths 

and octaves— and then suddenly 

we heard their voices palpable as flame: 

And they call us! And as if we had penetrated 

sign and enigma of their bodies' contour, 

each night, fell into nightlong dreams 

of archipelagoes and their strange islands, 

joyous processions, bent, narrow streets. 

And with hands unawakened, 

played with the pure sand of the amphitheatre 

of their configured waists and haunches. 

Our reveries adorned them 

with fair hair, russet lashes, 

93 



profiles of cameos, lethal gowns 
and hands that shone like soundless crystal. 
Now we feared only their strange fragrance, 
motion and form, like those of vessels. 

In the orchard, gathered under trees, 
we would play, as we listened 
to plashing water that unclothed us, 
timid, always regretful, why they didn't 
leave us and run away. 

Then by pure chance our glances came together 
eye to eye. We would run, startled, 
and not know why. —And afterward 
for a long time, avoided home. Or there, 
wandered from room to room, loitered at doors 
and paused at mirrors— we who had learned all 
the hermetic curves and labyrinthine bodies. 
Our dread, the smile of walls and windows 
and of the mother. Strange, her gentle rustling! 
. . . Unable now to silence in ourselves 
the sure voice of the tree of knowledge. 

(Clark Mills) 



INFERNO 

Leave all despair, who enter here. 
(Comte de Lautreamont) 
To. J. G. 

Through dark streams of the cerebral complex I penetrate a season 
that was not in the world, 

gray-horizoned, with ardent trees 

(like ours, their roots more powerful than their trunks), 

where my friend Hermes, the Aurora Gate in his eyes, sings the 
sheen of your hair, 

and sun— the scarlet domino of the carnival of our time- 
fixed in green polar ice, listens to him. 

94 



The bells of the Virgin's month that toll (under the earth); 
the Mystical Rose, my Mystical Rose, Queen of Immaculate Time 

(under the earth), meet us. 
Wild birds that would each autumn wrench us from dark-haired 

shadowy places; 
fatherly errant parabolas of the familiar shadows of the rooms of 

youth 
and of the closing wooden doors, 
parabolas that filled the evenings of the departed, meet us (under 

the earth). 
Thus my arrival at a melancholy town. 
A saint, his hand somewhat corroded, stops me, cries: "You know 

—here's Inferno!" 
Yes! This journey's not my first. And in my mind's eye rises 
The First Circle; Shannon, the waiter from Perpignan, and tlie 

doomed, with ciphers on their faces. 
But I go forward. I do not turn back. 
A street of dust under my feet, 
I see this woman, joyous— it may be, my mother. 
At the rotten parapet of the bridge I find again, as in the mirror 

in my native home, Yvonne de Calais who waits, her hair 

mournfully fair; 
she tells me that The Memory of Mortefontaine, in velvet dark- 
ness, sleeps like a pearl that glimmers 
—the full red moon drowned in the veins of a tree. 

Wrapped close about the house, but dry already lies the river. 
Only the lake has grown still more, both from sorrow and rain. 
With keener glance, one glimpses in the water the outline of 

a church, like a drowned man, snail- and weed-bedecked. 
I put my ear to the earth. I listen. 
Clad in their small white shirts, the choir of moles continue with 

their singing: 
In your world only the ironic forms of recollections li\e 
— Eumenides, the world has died, your Cod exists no more. 

Beside the yellow churchyard gate, in a Soutine-red jacket, stands 

a young drummer. 
Girls, their breasts quite hidden, 

95 



their bodies formless, and as if they had been mothers long before, 
lead forth a faceless bride, in whose still childlike flesh we see a 

numerous family and a wooden table. 
This is the Last Supper. The last bread and water. 
A dry Garden of Gethsemane rustles beyond the pane. 
In small white shirts, alas, the moles' choir sings the hitherto 

joyless Epithalamium. 
Faces. Bells. Faces. Bells. 
And a beggar bird, his cap on his knees. 

He would stand up as we approach, but leaves, wind-driven, close 

our eyes, and he vanishes without a word. 
In her body we find the silhouette of a ruined house. 
Diligent as a little shepherd, a gray worm, that has constructed 

something with great care in the antechamber, starts. 
He opens the door and, his face covered with tears, leads me into 

the room. There in the middle of the floor lies in pieces in 

a broken mirror my face. 
Behind the table sit the brothers. But they no longer know me. 
Across the floor scurries the mouse from Gorki's book, 
the one that we would once have raised into a horse 
to ride into more light. That, God did not allow. 
Thus we remained, our hope of liberation smothered 
in wretchedness— to us senseless, to others, sanctified. 
Mother sits by the wall and thinks, perhaps, how every spring my 

father dreamed of sailing-ships and winds. 
Then suddenly she lifts her eyes, and says, 
''You didn't bring us God?" 
No. I could not find Him anywhere. 

Still, my wish is to console them (you will rise again); 

but the worm outside the door resumes the song, 

and I, who understand that the joy of oblivion has been, for them, 

still greater than their hope for eternal being, 

I burn for a long time with a bizarre illusion, 

that, dead, I shall call up my sleeping angels from the sand, and 

in time's distant reaches overtake the angel of Bellini 

96 



who bears on his enormous wings their bodies up to God, 
and thus after a hard struggle, bring lost paradise to them 
—heavens that open simply to the key of iron, and the footprint's 
echo upon the earth. 
(1920- ) (Clark Mills) 

Kazys Bradunas 

THE WOODSPRITE'S LAMENT 

Oh, who has felled you, 

dear oak, my oak? 

Who withered your green-feathered crest? 

Alien, heartless gods? 

Or bloodless hands? 

I, I have failed you, 

dear oak, my oak. 

I did not shield you with my care. 

In damp mists, in the autumnal night, 

souls of the forefathers must lose their way. 

Alas, your branches will not sough together 

now, nor your leaves flare. 

(ClarJc Mills) 

THAT YOU NOT BE ALONE 

I scrubbed the windowpane 
Near your cradle 
That stars should rise. 
And risen, shed faint light, 
That you not be alone. 
Through the night alone. 

I shall sway like a willow 
By the level road 
Tliat a bird should settle, 
And settled, sing, 
That you not be alone. 
On the journey alone. 

97 



Up the sad hill Til go with you, 

Like sand I'll flow away 

That the wind should blow me, 

And blowing, lull you asleep, 

That you not be alone, 

In the earth alone. 

(Jean Reavey) 



CRYSTAL 



The flowering of the lindens 

is over. Honey-gathering's done. 

And in the granaries 

of tillers of the earth 

only a smell of wax remains. 

shorter the days. Colder 

the time of work. And in the hot palm, 

of the salt of sweat, only 

a small crystal. 

(1917- ) (Clark Mills) 



Vytautas Macernis 

THE SECOND VISION 

There is on earth a place of home 

where the dawn breaks with miracles, 

where cocks out of the past chant their longing 

and where the farmer's footsteps 

echo about the house. 

I bend down and I watch— 

my head turns with the fragrances of maple wet with dew. 

Far away lie the fields that grow 

only the fair-hued rye, 

far from the dirt and rumors of the streets. 

98 



And suddenly I hear 

in the wide shimmer of clear distances 

a shepherd's pipe, the lilt and song, move towards me. 

And I know that a shepherd holds a reed 

between his fingers, piping down the riverside, 

and like a restless river 

that winds through marshes and the blue of forests, 

the soft notes pierce the center of the heart. 

Thus in a trance of joy I hear 

the reed, the simple song 

waken the lea and valley fresh from sleep 

and see, somewhere, the dark night leave the earth, 

its heavy sorrow buoyant as the mist. 

The black bats flicker back to shadows under roofs, 

their dread the morning light. 

—I walk with my desires for the earth 
to burn and flame again, with visions. 

(1920-1944) (CJark Mills) 



Vladas Slaitas 
MEMORIAL 

When time transforms my bones to rocks and weeds. 

When I am here no more. 
Summon the rocks and bitter weeds to tell 

What love I bore 

For the rushes gracing this autumnal dell. 

And how I long to take 
To the grave no cross but yet a spray of reeds 

For memory's sake. 

(1920- ) (RafaeJ Sealeyj 

99 



Henrikas Nagys 
LATERNA OBSCURA 

Two of us draw the child's face in the first snow. 
Beneath wild raspberry branches, my sister rocks her doll. 
Last night the workmen laid light snow on the hard earth 
and now they tar the wooden bridge over the Bartuva. 
— Tlie new-born snow, light as my sister's hair. 

Through the crouched, empty town of Samogitia 
the cossacks ride. They slash with naked swords 
white, breathless winter moonlight. 

We sketch our brother's face in the first snow. 

The epileptic daughter of the watchman 

crumbles dry bread, scatters it into the ditch 

for the coffin. Snow drifts over the waxen face 

of the peasant woman and her pillow of pleated paper. 

And through the snowstorm echo 

the hoarse chant and the breathless bells. 

Through the white soundless town of Samogitia asleep 
the cossacks ride. And their long whips cut 
blue winter moonlight shimmering in the trees. 

No one kissed you goodnight. And no one wept 
with you for your dead mother. No one came to bury 
your father, hanged. Your land, empty and naked. 
Your earth, a peasant's palm. For you were not admitted 
into the kingdom. Gray garments fluttered 
like shrouds of long forgotten funerals 
—the vestments of a plague. 

Through the poor town of Samogitia ride the cossacks 
who bear on their long lances, cut in pieces, 
the blue moonlight of winter. 

100 



On a bright Sunday morning in a radiant land 
the workmen tar the wooden bridge over the Bartuva. 
Deep under ice, and slow, the river flows into the sea. 
Under the raspberry branches, covered with snow, 
my sister's doll sleeps. Two of us trace 
our brother's face, asleep in the blue snow. 

(Claik Mills) 



PASTORAL 

The railroader's sons strum their guitars in the shade: 
Their sensitive fingers pluck a sad old tune. 
Silver planes zoom through quiet space. 

The harsh hammering of the scythe clangs across the lake. 

Smoke and dust suffocate the orchard; the trees droop. 
Barefoot children build sandcastles and sing sweet tunes 
In the parching sun on the tarstained beach. 

The harsh hammering of the scythe clangs across the lake. 

The rails and the windows glitter in the noon sun. 

Like tiny minnows, the silver planes flash in the sky. 

Tlie apathetic old guitars thrum in the children's laughter. 

The harsh hammering of the scythe clangs loudly here, by 
the hedge. 
(1920- ) (Jean Reavey) 



Eugenijus Gruodis 
THE WORD 

All was given: the ox, 
the donkey and the shed; 

quiet forehead, the nostrils' warmth, 
donkey with its bowed head; 

101 



each bone in the hazel-soft 
hide; on the forehead, a white 

star— and all was: the ox, 
the donkey and the night. 

—These I have lost. 
( 1923- ) (Marie/o Fonsale) 



Birute Pukeleviciute 

SLENDER, MY MOTHER 

Slender, my mother, like the bird-cherry. 
Laden with me, she ripens her misfortune. 
Wide vessels choke with forest flowers. Closed, 
The yellow shutters. She awaits a holiday. 

I come with Consecration, all the roads 
Empty, the organ still. At night my cradle 
Fills with sharp, fallen August stars. Mournful, 
My mother weeps. Now for the first time. 
For I am separated now, like boulder 
From cliff, and will roll down. Without her. 

And it's true: 
My hand slides from her clasp. 
In fall the orchards burn, flash red with fire. 
Wild drakes turn south, sheen of their wings bronzen. 
And I go. 

In rushes, the path narrows. Sedges are sharp as knives. 
Toothless, the hollow tree-trunks yawn. I tremble 
In every joint. But I do not turn back. 

(1923- ) (Jack /. Stukas) 

102 



Jonas Mekas 

OLD IS THE HUSH OF RAIN 

Old is the hush of rain over the branches 

of underbrush; and the hoarse cries of the black cocks 

are old in the red summer dawn 

—old, this our speech: 

of yellow fields of oats and barley, 

of shepherds' campfires in the blown wet loneliness of autumn, 

of the potato harvests, of the summer heats, 

of winter's white glint, creak and hiss of sleighs 

—of wagons log-laden, of stones in fallow fields, 

of red brick stoves, of gypsum in the pastures 

—and then at lamplit evening, as the autumnal fields go gray, 

of wagons for tomorrow's market, 

of drowned October highways washed away 

—days of the potato harvest. 

Old, this our life— interminable generations 

that walked over the fields 

and traced their steps over the black earth 

—each foot of land still speaks and breathes the fathers. 

For from these cool stone wells 

they watered their evening herds, 

and when the clay floors of their cottages wore out 

and the walls crumbled slowly, 

from these fields they dug up the yellow sand, 

from these pits, yellow clay. 

And when we too depart, 
others will rest on the same boundary-stones, 
scythe down the same lush meadows, plough these fields. 
And as they sit beside the tables, after work, 
each table, each clay pitcher, each beam in the wall 
will speak. They will remember 
wide gravel-pits of yellow sand, 
and in wind-ruffled fields of rye 

103 



the voices of our women singing from the flaxen edges 
—and this first scent in a new cottage: 
fresh fragrance of moss! 

Old is the smell of clover, 

the horses whinnying in the summer nights, 

the chirp and chime of harrows, rollers, ploughs, 

grindstones of the mills, 

the green smells from the meadow, steeping flax, 

white gleam of kerchief of the weeders in the gardens. 

Old is the hush of rain over the branches 

of underbrush; and the hoarse cries of the black cocks 

are old in the red summer dawn 

—old, this our speech. 

(1922- ) (Chik Mills) 



Vytautas Karalius 
BREAD AND RICE 

Bread on my table- 
on your table, rice. 
Blue-eyed, I look at bread— 
your eyes half-closed, you look at rice. 
As bread sustains me, 
you are sustained by rice. 
Bread black as the earth, 
rice as white as teeth. 
I here, you in far Asia. 
But we are close as teeth and bread. 

(1931- ) (Marie/o FonsaJe) 

Algimantas Mackus 
THE DROWNED GIRL 

You longed for your own river: 
to drop your clothes on the shore 
and play with the water, naked. 

104 



Your river has come to you: 

on the shore, the poor shadow of a bush 

and the prints of naked feet. 

And you have your own river: 

the wind that raised your veil, your kerchief, 

has given to you your river. 

(1932- ) (Algirdas Landshcigis) 



105 



Ill 

In Other Languages 



Vaclovas Labunauskis-Daujotas 
EPIGRAM TO BISHOP MERKELIS GIEDRAITIS 

Age after age, great city-kingdoms crumble, 
Agelong, the monuments of warlords perish, 
Slow centuries devour the stately marbles. 
Tall oaks and pyramids succumb to time. 
But your renown, O Bishop, in your nature 
And piety and faith, will not taste death. 
Why? Because you have given to your people 
Sanctified bread, of which the praise and glory 
Cannot and will not die. 

1599(?) (Algirdas Lands bergfs) 

Adam Mickiewicz 

(hom) Pan Tadeusz 

INVOCATION 

Mother, my country,* my articulate health. 
He who has lost you learns late to love you, 
I who have loved you, see your long splendor. 
Yearning for you, I describe now my love. 

Madam, Maid Madam, bright on Czenstochowa, 
Radiant on Ostra gate in the town of Wilno, 
Shelter of sleeping Novogrodek castle, 
(The family faithful, in faith the folk,) 

your magic 
Restored the health I had lost in childhood. 
My mother weeping, upheld me to your kindness : 
I raised dead eyelids, saw, and could walk 
Straight to the door of your shrine, thanking God 
For the life you gave me. Gi\c me now life 
To take us back to our countrymothcr's breast. 
Bring my sad soul to those soft\\oodcd hills. 
The green meadows that flank the blue Niemen, 

109 



The fields with their gay complexion of grain, 
The wheat golden, silver the rye, 
The mustard amber, buckwheat snowhite. 
Where the clover in bloom is a young girFs blush 
And her bridebelt a ribbon of clean green turf 
Studded, my lady, with peaceful peartrees. 

(Bill McFall) 



DAY BREAKS ON LITHUANIA 

Out of the moist dark 
Dawn without glow brings 
Day without brightness. 

Sunrise, a whiteness 
In a thatch of mist. 
Shows late to eastward. 

Earth is as tardy; 
Cows go to pasture. 
Startle hares grazing. 

Fog that had spared them 
Dayspring's alarum 
Dispels them with herds. 

Groves where the damp birdj 
Brood are their havens 
In the still woodland. 

Storks clack from marshland; 
Kavens on haycocks 
Croak of wet weather. 



*In the original, Lithuania. 

110 



Scythes ring together, 
Chng of the sickle, 
Hone, hammer and dirge. 

Fog at the field's edge 
Strangles the echo 
Of labor and song. 



(Donald Davie) 



THE FOREST 



Beyond incursion: the intricate abyss 

At the thicket's kernel. To the hunter's 
Tentative expeditions, it presents 

An unranged surface, secured 
From his knowledge as the bed of ocean 

From the shore-side fisher's. The face 
Of our Lithuanian forests, their form 

Are his familiar themes; the heart eludes him 
Confiding the mystery of its secrets 

Only in fable. For once you have passed 
The negotiable tangle of woods and wilds 

The rampart rises: stumps, logs, roots. 
Defended by water and quagmire, by weed-nets, 

By ant-hills, nest of the wasp and hornet 
And by the serpent. If, in your valour. 

You can surmount such dangers, 
There are yet worse. Ambush awaits you 

Wliere— like the dens of wolves— hiding their 

demons 
And hidden by growth of grass, the lakes 

Disguise by a small circumference 
Immeasurable depth. Iridescent waters 

Spotted as if with rust, steam-out their odours 
Decaying leaf and bark; the humped trees 

Stripped, worm-like and witch-like. 
Group for their sabbaths, branch 

Knotted to branch with moss, bearded in fungus 

111 



And warming their wasted trunks 

Round the fatal cauldron. The morass quivers 
Under its mist: beyond, you will advance 

Neither by dint of eye nor foot 
Through its ceaseless smoke. Explored 

In fable, here the forest ends 
Entering fertile ground, Eden of beasts and plants. 

(1798-1855) (Charles TomJinson) 



Jurgis Baltrusaitis 
MORNING SONG 

Dawn, bright herald, proclaims the accession of Day 
To the valleys still heavy with night. 
And the clouds of sheer opal and ruby make way 
For the regal arrival of Light. 

And the skies and the plains lie wide open, unfurled 
From the cope to the dew-covered base. 
As though God were withdrawing the veils of the world 
From His infinite marvel of space. 

Sudden shudders now pass through the bay, as it flings 
Waves that whiten and roar and assault. 
And the crystal of silence falls shattered and rings 
Its joy to the jubilant vault . . . 

(Ants Oias) 

TO THE CRUCIFIED HOMELAND 

An orphan's fate, to stray and stumble 
On ways of blood and fire, is thine . . . 
Yet in your wordless grief, my humble. 
Believing heart, await the Sign . . . 

Hail beats thy crop, stark lightnings cleave it. 
Thy ancient shields are sighs and groans, 
Yet He who built this land, believe it. 
Makes wine of tears and bread of stones. 

112 



You labor painfully and slowly 
Through fruitless clays of blight and sleet, 
Yet trust and deem divine the lowly, 
Mute stigmata of bleeding feet. 

And though thy pain seem daily greater 
And blessings bitter from above, 
Lift up thy mind to thy Creator 
For the last victory of love. 

(Ants Oras) 

TESTAMENT OF GRIEF 

When pain assails your heart to tear it, 
Your naked heart, its helpless prey, 
Receive the gift of grief and bear it, 
Soul of my dark departing day. 

When times of torment strike unbidden. 
With weeping eyes, through pain and stress, 
You peer at mystery, dimly hidden: 
God's ways are ways of deep distress ... 



We take the tasks that life enforces. 
Grope to the light its drabness bars 
And raise the .load of mundane courses 
Up to the festival of stars. 



ns^ 



And he, and only he, can sever 
His ties with dust in throes of birth 
Who loves the crown of thorns, forever 
Renouncing all he owned on earth. 
(1877-1939) (Ants Oras) 

O. V. de L.-Milosz 

(from) Insomnia 

. . . Beautiful, limpid days, when the hill flowered 
and in the warm gold sea of comfort the deep organs 
of hives at work sang for the gods of sleep, 

113 



and the fair cloud, her face in shadow, poured 

down the fresh mercies of her heart over the thirst 

of stones, the breathless wheat, the rose, my sister of the ruins! 

Where are you, perfect hours? And you, still garden path, 

beautiful in your tears? I dread, I shun, now, 

your gutted trunks. For it was there, young Love, 

who told such splendid tales, concealed himself. 

And Recollection waited thirty years. And no one 

called. No one. And Love dropped off to sleep. 

— O House, my Home! Why did you let me go, 

why did you not hold to me, keep me? Why, 

Mother, so many decades past, let two magicians 

—the autumn wind that lied, the endless winter hearth— 

so tempt me, you who well knew all my being, 

with their wild tales, redolent of old islands 

and sailing-ships lost in the great silent azure 

of time, and shores and maidens fallow in the South? 

(CJark Mills) 

THE CARRIAGE, HALTED AT NIGHT 

While we wait for the keys 

—doubtless he hopes to find them in the garments 
of Thecla, dead these thirty years- 
listen, Madame, hear the old muffled whisper 
of the night garden path . . . 
—So frail, so little, twice wrapped in my cloak, 
in my arms through the briars and nettles of the ruins 
ni bring you to the high black manor door. 
Along this VN^ay the grandfather came home 
with a dead w^oman, years ago, from Vercelli. 
How black the house, and still! 
And for a child, forbidding. 
—Madame, you know already, it's a sad tale. 
They sleep in such far countries, quite scattered. 
One century now, their place has waited for them 
in the hill's heart. Their race dies with me here, 
O Lady of these ruins! 

Here you will see the boundless room of childhood. 
Here, silence, deep as the supernatural, 

114 



speaks from the dimmed portraits. 

On my couch, folded to myself at night, 

in the sound of the thaw behind the wall 

I heard, as if in hollow armor, 

their hearts beat.— What a wild 

homeland, unfinished for my fearful child! 

The lantern gutters and the moon is veiled. 

The owl summons her daughters from the grove. 

—While we wait for the keys, Madame, 

sleep a bit.— Sleep, my poor child, sleep, 

so pale, your head against my shoulder! 

You'll see, how beautiful the anxious forest 

adorned in her insomnias of June 

with flowers, O my child, like the chosen daughter 

of the mad queen. Burrow into my travelling cloak, 

the great autumnal snow melts on your face 

and you are drowsy. 

(In the lantern-light she turns, turns on the wind 

as in my childhood reveries, 

you know, the woman, the old woman.) 

—No, Madame, I hear nothing. 

He's so old, and his mind unhinged . . . 

I'd wager he has gone to find a drink! 

—So black a homestead for my fearful child, 

and deep, so deep in Lithuanian land! 

The locks rusted, vine-shoots withered, 

doors bolted, shutters closed 

and leaves on leaves piled in the lanes, 

a century of leaves! 

And all the servants dead. 

My memory, dead and gone. 

So black the manor for my candid child! 

I can recall the great-great-grandfather's 

orangery, and the theatre. 

The little owls ate from my hand there. 

The moon watched through the jasmine. 

That was another epoch. 

—I hear a footstep in the garden lane. 

A shadow, look! Here's Witold with the keys. 

"(Clark A fills) 
115 



Selected Bibliography 

Balys, Jonas (Ed.): Lithuania and Lithuanians. A Selected Bibliography. Nev/ 
York, Frederick A. Praeger, Inc. for the Lithuanian Research Institute, 1961. 

Balys, Jonas: Lithuanian Folksongs in America. Boston, Lithuanian Encyclopedia, 
1958. 

Balys, Jonas: Lithuanian Narrative Folksongs. Washington, 1954. 

Baranauskas, Antanas: The Forest of Anyksciai. Translated with explanatory notes 
by Nadas Rastenis. Los Angeles, Lithuanian Days, 1956. 

Davie, Donald: The Forests of Lithuania. A poem adapted from part of Pan 
Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz. England, Marvell Press, 1959. 

Jungfer, Victor (Ed.): Litauischer Liederschrein. The Daina in German transla- 
tions by various hands. Tiibingen, Patria Verlag, 1948. 

Katzenelenbogen, Uriah: The Daina. An anthology of Lithuanian and Latvian 
folksongs, with a preface and critical study. Chicago, Lithuanian News Pub- 
lishing Co., 1935. 

Lednicki, Waclaw (Ed.): Adam Mickiewicz in World Literature. A symposium. 
Berkeley, University of California Press, 1956. 

Mauclere, Jean: Panorama de la Litterature Lithuanienne Contemporaine. Paris, 
Editions du Sagittaire, 1938. 

Mickiewicz, Adam: Selected Poems. Edited by Clark Mills, with a critical biog- 
raphy by Jan Lechon. New York, Noonday Press, 1956. 

Mickiewicz, Adam: Neiv Selected Poems. Edited by Clark Mills and Ludwik 
Krzyzanowski. New York, Voyages Press, 1957. 

Milosz, O. V. de L.-: Oeuvres Choisies, with a critical study by Jean Rousselot, 
a bibliography and other materials. Paris, Editions Pierre Seghers, 1955. 

Milosz, O. V. de L.-: Oeuvres Completes, tome IV. Contes Lithuaniennes de Ma 
Mere I'Oye. Origines de la Nation Lithuanienne. Dainos. Paris, Editions 
Egloff, 1947. 

Paterson, Adrian: Old Lithuanian Songs. Introduction by Martin Lings. Kaunas, 
Pribacis, 1939. 

Senn, Alfred: Handbuch der litauischen Sprache. Heidelberg, C. Winter, 1957. 

Vaiciulaitis, Antanas: Outline History of Lithuanian Literature. Chicago, Lithu- 
anian Cultural Institute, 1942. 

Zobarskas, Stepas (Ed.): Selected Lithuanian Short Stories. New York, Voyages 
Press, I960. 

Zidonis, Genevieve I.: O. V. de L.-Milosz; sa vie, son oetivre, son ryonnement. 
Paris, O. Perrin, 1951. 

117 



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